Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg believes his Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying showing was one of his best drives of the Formula 1 season.
Although his sixth place does not match the impressive third on the grid he secured at the Italian Grand Prix, he thinks the fact he was able to split the Lotuses deserves recognition. Hulkenberg then moved up to fifth position when Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus was excluded.
“It was definitely, if you look over the year, one of the best qualifying performances,” Hulkenberg said. “Monza still stands out as a result but today has been pretty sweet as well.”
Hulkenberg thinks that Sauber’s continued strong form owes more to the way he and his team have improved the way they work together, rather than to car development.
“Since Monza really it is a positive upward slope and everybody in the team feels that,” he said. “There are positive vibes, a good mood, and it has lifted the motivation as well.
“We haven’t had any updates recently, but a couple of things have come together and all of them combined make us look so good. On top of that there might now be an element of me feeling even more confident in the car, the shoe is really comfortable now.
“I have a lot of confidence in the car. The relationship with my engineer is better, everything is bedded in now in terms of being smoother. Those tiny details make a difference.”
With the German encouraged by the long run pace of Sauber as well, he thinks there is a decent chance of a good result in the race.
“I think the long run pace was very decent, similar to Ferrari and McLaren so I don’t think we have to hide tomorrow,” he said. “But it is going to be close and a tough battle.”