Consistency key for Hulkenberg this season

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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.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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