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.