Hulkenberg pole not down to set-up

Nico Hulkenberg deserves the full credit for his shock pole position in the Brazilian Grand Prix, claim his team, after it was revealed his performance had nothing to do with a pure wet weather set-up gamble

Hulkenberg pole not down to set-up

The German ended a five-year pole position drought for his Williams team at Interlagos as he upstaged the championship contenders in a wet qualifying for the penultimate race of the season.

Although it was initially suspected that the advantage that Hulkenberg enjoyed had been because he had opted for a wet-weather set-up due to the conditions, his outfit has made it clear that that was not the case.

Hulkenberg had opted for a fully dry weather set-up and the pace he delivered was down to making the switch to slicks at the right time because of input from Rubens Barrichello - plus getting his tyres into the perfect operating window by some aggressive driving.

Williams co-owner Patrick Head said: "Rubens was doing a lap on scrubbed inters and had a moment on one of the corners, so he didn't get a decent lap on scrubbed inters but said, 'the track was dry I am coming in'.

"He was in putting dries in and Tom McCullough [Hulkenberg's race engineer] said, 'is the track ready for dries?' and Nico said 'no, it was too wet for dries.' Tom then said, 'well Rubens is in the pits putting on dries' to which Nico nipped straight into the pits and put on dries.

"If you look at the times and sector times you will see for Nico he had a hard out lap and was able to do three consecutive hard laps. I don't think Nico would claim yet that the combination of Nico and Williams is quicker than Sebastian Vettel and a Red Bull in the dry.

"What he was able to do was get his tyres in the right temperature window better than anybody else and that was partly Nico's driving, toughness and determination, and partly the fact that he was able to do a hard out-lap and three consecutive hard laps.

"Rubens was out on his dries and was behind Lewis Hamilton and Lewis was droaning around on dries but incredibly slowly, while the temps went down and down and down. Rubens was not able to find a way past him so his tyres got very cold."

Barrichello backed up Head's views that Hulkenberg's form was down to the way he got his tyres up to temperature.

"To be fairly honest, like I mentioned before, situations like this are there for you to grab them," explained the Brazilian. "I think he [Nico] grabbed it harder than anybody else.

"For me, if you look at him first and me sixth it is a bit of a disappointment, but in any case we are much better than what we could do if it was completely dry or completely wet.

"He was very good in keeping the temperatures on the tyres. We could see it on the data, he was fantastic. He went out, he was nailing every lap and unfortunately I don't know what happened but Hamilton was very slow on the out-lap and then I had to create a gap to him.

"My temperatures went down and I knew I had to keep on fighting. But I got to Turn 4 and went straight on so my temperatures went right down. I was fighting the machine for all those laps but it was still a good lap with all we saw. From a 14.4 to a 16.2 is a different level of grip altogether."

shares
comments
Brazil Saturday quotes: Williams

Previous article

Brazil Saturday quotes: Williams

Next article

Button unharmed in armed incident

Button unharmed in armed incident
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg
Author Jonathan Noble
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021