2012 German Grand Prix: Qualifying Report
P5* Nico Hülkenberg (VJM05/03)
(*starting position still to be confirmed)
Q1: 1:16.271 Q2: 1:39.467 Q3: 1:43.501
Nico: “I feel very excited because it’s always special to qualify well, especially at your home race. It was a session that had a bit of everything because we ran on slicks, intermediates and wets. I think the most tricky conditions came during Q3 when I even aquaplaned off the track during my out lap and went into the gravel. Fortunately I was lucky and able to continue, but there was very little grip on the track. When you start high up you naturally want to finish high up as well and I hope we can have strong race. It will probably be dry tomorrow and there are a lot of quick cars behind us so we will need to think carefully to make the strategy work.”
Nico Hülkenberg: “I’ll push as hard as I can”
What’s your verdict on today’s qualifying?
“I‘m fairly happy, to be honest, although in Q3 I felt a bit better in the car and more comfortable when it was wetter. At the end when it was drier I was struggling a bit more. We saw a couple of cars like Alonso coming in and having a new set and obviously he was very fast afterwards. But it think from what we had in that session, it was pretty good.”
What are your chances of defending that position in the race?
“Realistically speaking we have to watch the back a little bit! I’ll push as hard as I can and then see where we are pace-wise.”
What’s your gut feeling on your pace from the dry running you’ve had?
“We were not too far off, but I think there are quicker cars around us.”
You had an exciting moment at the start of Q3…
“Yes, that was not on the schedule. That was quite a shocking moment! I was just driving down the straight, where there was a lot of water all the session and I just aquaplaned off the road. I just prayed I didn’t touch anything and luckily I didn’t. I just went into the gravel and was able to continue.”
Vijay has said that the team needs a bit of luck to get a podium this year. Luck went your way today – are you hoping it could pay off tomorrow?
“It’s not just luck, it was also a good performance by us. We were on the track at the right moment, I did the laps at the right moment. Yes, luck is always part of it, but we had a lot of bad luck in the first few races, so we could do with a bit of good luck!”
You are on the second row at your home race in Germany. Is that exciting?
“It is quite exciting. I’m on the second row only because Mark gets a penalty, but even fifth place, we can be quite happy with that.”
How important is for the team to score consistently?
“We start the race with good points already, but to bring it back home in that position, that is the challenge tomorrow and quite a big task. We will try hard to defend as well as we can and get the best position we can. The pressure is always there, because Williams and Sauber have had quite good results. We need to score points to stay in touch. But we can only do what we can – we can only get the maximum out of each weekend.”