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Autosport Top 50 of 2023: #44 Nico Hulkenberg

16th in Formula 1 World Championship

Top 50 2023 dotcom44

Top 50 Drivers of 2023

Autosport's team of expert journalists got together to try to assess who were the top 50 drivers of 2023. Here are the results.

After losing his full-time F1 drive with Renault at the end of 2019, Nico Hulkenberg had to make do with a handful of super-sub outings for Racing Point/Aston Martin until Haas came knocking.

In qualifying, Hulkenberg immediately exercised his one-lap superiority over team-mate Kevin Magnussen and got as far as Q3 first time out in Bahrain. He repeated that in Australia, securing his season-best grand prix finish of seventh from 10th on the grid.

PLUS: Ranking the top 10 Formula 1 drivers of 2023

Most of the German’s highlights were produced in qualifying because the limited Haas often fell back in the races; his best performance was second place in a wet-dry Canadian GP qualifying before receiving a grid penalty.

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner on Hulkenberg’s full-time return

“I’ve been pretty impressed. We took him for one reason, because we know he can drive a race car.

“The doubt was after three years as not a full-time driver, how long does it take him to catch up? It didn’t take him any time because he was there from day one.

Hulkenberg put in some standout drives this year even if his car wasn't able to deliver

Photo by: Mark Sutton

Hulkenberg put in some standout drives this year even if his car wasn't able to deliver

“It’s actually very impressive, but also as a human being, he tries to help the team and that’s what we wanted with the experience he has. That’s what I always said.

“He was six times in Q3 out of [the first] 11 races – that isn’t too shabby. And he’s got nine points, so in the race he’s pretty good.

“First of all, he surprised me how quick he was on the ball, how quick he was integrated within the team. It was quite amazing how he immediately understood people.

"He goes about racing in the right way and puts in the right effort – not trying to overdo it, you know?" Guenther Steiner

“But again, we are talking about experience and he has been doing this for a long time. But it’s also how he goes about racing in the right way and puts in the right effort – not trying to overdo it, you know?

“He knows exactly what he needs to do. It’s the experience – [he knows] it’s not chocolate, it’s not sweet to make, so it takes some time.”

 
Can Hulkenberg make himself an essential member of the Haas set-up in 2024?

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Can Hulkenberg make himself an essential member of the Haas set-up in 2024?

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