No points, no problem: Nico Hulkenberg impressed with Haas race pace in Jeddah

Hulkenberg finished in P12 after an exciting race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, just over five seconds short of the winning point.

Nico Hulkenberg in a file photo. (Image: Hulkenberg's Twitter)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Mar 23, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Despite failing to earn a points finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg expressed satisfaction with the performance of his Haas team and called their faster pace than their midfield rivals the best development of the day. Hulkenberg finished in P12 after an exciting race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, just over five seconds short of the winning point that went to teammate Kevin Magnussen, giving Haas their first point of the season.

Hulkenberg took heart from the fact that Haas finished fifth behind the top four teams (Red Bull, Aston Martin, Mercedes, and Ferrari) and the two Alpines, as the US-led team looks to build on their rise to eighth place in the constructors’ standings from the previous year. “It was a tough, challenging race, but I’m happy, actually, with P12,” the former Renault man said.

“I think a couple of things didn’t quite go to plan, but all in all we’re happy. The pace seemed strong and alright for us in the midfield, and that is the best news of the day.”

“Bahrain was very difficult to understand with the damage that I had. I think we kind of had to forget about it and regroup – so here was kind of a fresh start, race one for us,” he added. “Like I said, [the] race circumstances didn’t all go our way, and made life a bit hard, but nevertheless I’m happy to come away with [P12], [and] very happy for the team that we got the first point, too, with Kevin.”

Magnussen pleased with first points of 2023

By making a late-race pass on Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen earned P10 and the final point in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The Dane was understandably pleased with the overtake that led to the scoring of his first season point.

From lap 25 onward, he pursued Tsunoda’s rear wing before pulling off the pass with five laps remaining on the inside of the last corner. “It was a good pass. Yuki did a great job to defend and for many laps kept me behind, just put his car in all the right spots to destroy my aero in the crucial points and always getting good exits in the last corner to defend at Turn 1, and I got him eventually,” said Magnussen.

“I’m really happy; I think we made a good step this weekend on the set-up, much better on tyre degradation today than in Bahrain, so we’ve got to be really happy with that.” Magnussen may have been happier with Haas’s turnaround from a pointless performance at the season-opening Bahrain race. Although he expressed excitement for the Australian Grand Prix, which will be held from March 31 to April 2, he acknowledged that there were still uncertainties regarding how well Haas would perform on circuits with higher levels of degradation.

“I feel like we actually made a step forward and I hope that transfers into Melbourne and the coming races,” he said. “We’re going to go back to races that are harder on the surface tarmac-wise, and then we’ll see if we actually made a step forward. But happy about today.”

(Information taken from official F1 website)