Nico Hulkenberg chasing breakthrough F1 podium in 2016

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Nico Hulkenberg has set his sights on bouncing back from an underwhelming 2015 campaign by scoring his first podium finish in Formula 1 this year.

2015 proved to be a disappointing season in F1 for Hulkenberg, yielding a best finish of sixth en route to tenth place in the drivers’ standings.

The Force India driver hit the headlines by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche in June, and continues to be tipped for a seat further up the field in the future.

However, Hulkenberg is only looking at 2016 for the time being when he hopes to score his long-awaited first podium finish in F1 and bounce back from a disappointing season.

“Some things will always be beyond your control,” Hulkenberg told the official F1 website. “But you have to constantly learn from any mistake, especially your own. This is how you get better, and this is what matters.

“I want to make this my best season in F1. In terms of points and my position at the season’s end. And I want to push myself on to the podium – hopefully and finally!

“For that, I will just do what I do best: drive fast and enjoy what I love doing!”

Hulkenberg has been linked with Ferrari consistently over the past four years as a possible replacement for firstly Felipe Massa and, more recently, Kimi Raikkonen.

However, the Italian marque’s interest in the German appears to have cooled recently thanks to the impression made by the likes of Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

When asked about a possible move to Ferrari in the future, Hulkenberg was coy, and instead chose to focus on his current commitments with Force India.

“Right now I am very happy where I am,” Hulkenberg said.

“Force India is a cool team. And dreaming is a dangerous thing in F1 – especially dreaming in red.”

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”