Hülkenberg very optimistic for Japan
8 October 2013 – Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg is feeling bullish ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix this coming weekend and is targeting another good result after what he reckoned was one of the best races of his career in Yeongam on Sunday.
Hülkenberg achieved a joint-personal best result of fourth at the Korea International Circuit, successfully holding off Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages, despite continuous pressure from the Mercedes driver.
It was a timely result – given rumours he is in the frame to join Lotus in 2014 – and the German will now be eager to maintain that momentum and get his fourth points’ finish in succession.
“I really enjoy going to Suzuka, as it is always a cool weekend and special as both a Grand Prix and a circuit. Drivers like challenges and this is certainly a very challenging track,” Nico said. “It is a classic track – a bit like Spa – and one that just puts a big smile on everyone's face.
“From the moment you get there the welcome is always really enthusiastic. The fans are polite and very cute. I especially love the way they wave with both hands, and I shall certainly try to learn this double wave as it looks great.
“Of course, the track has two amazing corners in the Esses and 130R. In a F1 car it is a great track to drive on, and one where you can really use the downforce and certainly feel it. It is a very high G force track, which means it is quite physical, especially on the neck. Away from the track I also enjoy the food [too], especially the teppanyaki and sushi. It goes without saying I would like to have a good result there and, after finishing seventh last year, I am going there in a very optimistic mood.”
F1 2013 rookie team-mate Esteban Gutiérrez meanwhile is looking forward to getting his first taste of the 5.807 km track.
“Suzuka is a circuit I always wanted to drive on. I know it very well from all the onboard footage that I’ve watched, and I know the track from last year when I went with the team to the GP. It’s an interesting track with a lot of fast corners and it’s quite technical too. I can already say it will be one of my most favourites,” added the Mexican.
“I’m looking forward to going to Japan again. The fans are amazing, they know a lot about F1, and they even knew me last year when I was the reserve and test driver. It’s a great atmosphere, there is a good energy, and seeing the fans so passionate about the sport motivates me too.”