AUSTIN, Texas – Wet weather is bound to dominate Friday’s two free practice sessions and Saturday’s FP3 and qualifying ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix (2:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC).
So while the rain is due to pose a threat, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg is at least hoping the team gets enough running in to prep for qualifying, while avoiding going too far on wet weather setup to compromise the team’s race on Sunday.
“Running in the wet is always fun. I personally like driving in the wet. You have to take it as it comes,” Hulkenberg told assembled reporters Thursday at Circuit of The Americas.
“It will have an impact if you don’t get much dry running. I think we’ve had this previously as well. You have to manage it, and it mixes things up.”
The Russian Grand Prix two weeks ago stood out for its lack of running on Friday, due to a slippery track surface, a session delay due to a diesel spill, and some other rain.
There’s 180 minutes worth of running on a Friday, between the two 90-minute free practice sessions. Sometimes the sessions aren’t that heavy on running.
But Hulkenberg said he prefers it where you’re not fighting for track time and struggling to get clear laps.
“I think I like it,” he said. “Coming up to Formula 1, in junior series, you have 30-minute cracks in GP2 and GP3.
“It’s cold water and you have to learn to swim, more or less. That puts more emphasis on the driver. You don’t have much time to work on your game.”
Hulkenberg also said that while he was happy for Sergio Perez to pick up a podium last time out in Sochi, he said had his first lap coming together with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, the race could have played out entirely different.
“Yeah (it’s bittersweet), but although my accident not happened and no safety car it could have been a completely different race,” he said. “Very positive for the team though to get a podium ahead of Mexico. Four races to the end of the season and I’m looking for a successful weekend.”
Hulkenberg also addressed the Baku/Le Mans date clash set for 2016, which will all but certainly rule out one of the three overall 24 Hours of Le Mans race winners from a chance to repeat.
He said interest between he and Porsche Team continues and they hope to continue together in the future.