Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg has enjoyed a great start to the season after making a quite incredible bullet-dodge at the end of last year.
The German driver raced with Sauber last year, but was courted by Lotus after Kimi Raikkonen confirmed that he would be moving to Ferrari (a seat that Hulkenberg was actually offered, only to lose out to the Finn). After a difficult year with Sauber, Hulkenberg was seen as the obvious choice, only to lose out to Pastor Maldonado who – quite simply – brought more money to the table.
Hulkenberg has had the last laugh, though. After re-joining Force India, with whom he spent two years in 2011 and 2012, he has scored points in all four races so far this season whilst Lotus remain point-less.
“At the start of the year, the team said it wanted to improve on last year and so far it’s going according to plan,” he explained to The Economic Times. “We have 54 points from four races and we are third in the teams’ standings. Yes, there is a long way to go, but I believe we can keep up the momentum.”
Ever the nearlyman, Hulkenberg is yet to record his first podium finish in Formula 1. Although it is certainly a target for him, the main thing that he is focused on keeping up his point-scoring streak for as long as possible.
“It’s definitely the goal, but the most important thing is consistency over the year and to make sure we are scoring points at each race,” he said. “The factory is working hard to bring more performance to the car. We had some aero parts in Shanghai and the plan is for some more in Barcelona.”
Interestingly, it was not the first time that Hulkenberg’s talent had been rejected in favor of Maldonado’s millions. For the 2011 season, Williams opted to drop Hulkenberg in order to take on the Venezuelan driver, only for him to score just one point.
MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after suffering injuries in a motorcross accident earlier this week.
Nine-time motorcycling world champion Rossi was diagnosed with “mild thoracic and abdominal trauma” after the accident on Thursday morning, resulting in his admission to the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, Italy.
The hospital noted in a statement that there were “no fractures detected in any part of the body and no serious traumatic pathologies”, with Rossi recovering overnight with pain relief.
On Friday, a further statement was issued confirming that Rossi had been discharged from hospital.
“Valentino Rossi has returned home from the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier on Friday,” the statement reads.
“With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning‘s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff.
“He will now continue the recovery process at home.”
The Yamaha rider’s next racing engagement comes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.