The Formula 1 driver quietly having a superb start to 2023

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images) /

After returning to a full-time seat in Formula 1 for the first time since 2019, Nico Hulkenberg’s start with Haas has surprised many.

After three years away from the Formula 1 grid, Nico Hulkenberg was given another chance at a full-time seat with Haas. There were mixed opinions regarding this decision, considering the fact that other drivers such as Daniel Ricciardo were also available.

However, Hulkenberg has surprised many after starting so well, given his fairly long hiatus from the sport. He is currently tied for ninth place in the standings, which is very impressive considering he drives for Haas.

The German has not had much race action over the last few years. But in many of the practice and qualifying sessions, the 35-year-old has shown glimpses of good pace and control of the car, something that teammate Kevin Magnussen has not produced to the same level.

After a difficult start in Bahrain, Hulkenberg made big strides in Saudi Arabia and Australia. A 12th place finish in Jeddah, just outside of the points, is exactly what Haas want to see. On top of that, he was especially fast in qualifying and missed out on Q3 by just four hundredths of a second to Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.

But what many are talking about is how well Hulkenberg performed in Melbourne.

With great pace, control, and a bit of luck, Nico Hulkenberg had one of the best races of his Formula 1 career.

But it did not just start on Sunday for him. The magic began during the latter half of Friday. In the second practice session, he finished in ninth place. To start Saturday, he continued his good start to the weekend with an 11th place finish in the third practice session. To top off a good day, he made it into Q3 and qualified in a respectable 10th.

With a starting grid position in the top half of the field, he took full advantage. With a bit of luck, he went unscathed during the race. A superb performance resulted in a seventh place finish and six points.

Things even went against him after the drama on the final restart, as there is an argument that he should have been credited with a third place finish, which would have been the first podium finish of his career.

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Nevertheless, Hulkenberg has great momentum going for him to open the 2023 season, and Haas will be especially pleased with his performances. He will definitely look to keep things going as he heads to Azerbaijan.