Hulkenberg impressive once again, finishing fifth in Monaco

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Nico Hulkenberg once again put in an impressive display to finish the Monaco Grand Prix in fifth place for Force India.

The German driver has made a sensational start to the season, scoring points in every race so far, and with this result he has risen to fifth place in the drivers’ championship ahead of defending world champion Sebastian Vettel.

After starting in 11th place, Hulkenberg moved up to eighth behind Jean-Eric Vergne before the first round of stops despite starting on the slower tire. He pitted under the safety car, and gained a place when the Frenchman was penalized for an unsafe release in the pit lane.

Hulkenberg then made an extraordinary overtake on McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen at Portier to move up to fifth place after Kimi Raikkonen had also hit trouble and dropped back. Despite his tires fading towards the end, the German driver managed to fend off Jenson Button and score ten valuable points.

“Ten points today is a great reward after such a difficult race,” Hulkenberg explained. “The last 20 laps were really tricky because my super-soft tires were at the end of their life and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me and stay away from the barriers.

“There were some enjoyable moments in the race, especially my move on Magnussen. He had to let the Toro Rosso back through and he lost a bit of momentum so I saw my opportunity to stick my nose down the inside of turn eight. On a track like Monaco it gives you a big smile to make the move stick.”

However, Force India teammate Sergio Perez was less fortunate as he crashed out on the first lap. At Mirabeau, the Mexican tangled with Jenson Button, and was forced to retire from the race.

Once again, though, Hulkenberg proved his sheer class, giving the bigger teams in Formula 1 an idea of what they’re missing after passing up the opportunity to sign him.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.