Hulkenberg seeks to put Baku behind him and make amends in Spain

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team.
ยฉ XPB 

Nico Hulkenberg is aiming to forget all about the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as he heads to the more familiar surroundings of Barcelona for next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg crashed out on lap 11 in Baku when the rear end of the R.S.18 locked up going into turn 4. He's had a similar misadventure in the city in the previous year's race too.

"We all have bad days," he sighed. "What happened was unfortunate, but thatโ€™s racing as the saying goes. Itโ€™s time to reset and refocus and look forward to Spain, where I want to make amends."

โ€œNico just made a mistake,โ€ team boss Cyril Abiteboul said this week. "If it has to be his only mistake again this year, he will be more than forgiven.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is definitely a different type of beast to Baku. All the drivers on the grid know the it well from the many hours of testing they put in before the start of the season.

"The first few turns are almost like one big corner as turns 1-2-3 seem linked when at high-speed," explained Hulkenberg.

"You need to carry momentum through turns one and two. If you donโ€™t, you will compromise the very fast turn three and be in trouble running into turn four.

"Sector two contains another very fast right-hander and a straight.

"Sector three is the most tight and technical of the three. Itโ€™s twisty and slow, especially through the last chicane. But we have to nail the apexes in order for a quick lap time."

Even though the circuit layout is familiar, the conditions could hardly be more different from the last time they were here when testing was disrupted by snow and ice.

This time it will be much warmer, with early summer sunshine baking the tarmac. And the atmosphere in the city will also be transformed from the subdued time spent there in February and March.

"Barcelona and the surrounding area is a cool place to visit," Hulkenberg agreed. "You get a sense of a proper Spanish vibe there.

"Itโ€™s by the sea with lots of good restaurants and places to chill out. Itโ€™s always one of the louder races of the year and thereโ€™s always a really good turnout of fans.

"Thatโ€™s great to experience when weโ€™re on track and I love the Spanish passion," he added.

"It does mean, though, I have to leave for the circuit a little earlier in the morning to avoid the traffic!"

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