I had too many downs in 2015 – Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg thinks he experienced “too many downs” for his liking during the 2015 season, as he saw team-mate Sergio Perez outscore him by 20 points in Force India’s best ever F1 campaign.

While the German remains a very consistent racer, he went through a rough patch between the Singapore and United States grands prix, suffering three retirements in four races, all due to making contact with another driver.

Hulkenberg’s difficult period also coincided with Perez’ very strong form after the summer break. The Mexican secured seven points-paying finishes out of nine events, including a resounding podium in Sochi while his team-mate was out by the opening corner (see picture).

“For me personally, there were ups and downs,” Hulkenberg told F1i in an exclusive interview. “Too many downs of course for my taste but it happens sometimes, you get these periods where things just don’t go your way, being a bit unlucky, maybe not being put in the best position and then you have a difficult couple of races.

“We had quite a few technical issues as well in the second half, it’s not just all my things. But if you have a few technical ones and then the driver does one too then straight away it looks pretty bad. You have to look really close at it and analyse it well to understand it.

“Obviously the one race that stood out was Russia when I dropped out straightaway and then you don’t have a say in the race. But had I not dropped out the safety car would not have happened and it would have been a whole different race, you never know what happens. But for sure there was the potential for more on that day, I feel.”

As Hulkenberg reflected on his 2015 results, it was pretty natural for him to pick his Le Mans 24 Hours victory with Porsche on debut as the highlight of his campaign.

“I think no doubt that stood out because it’s a win, it’s Le Mans. Even though I had a good couple of races [in F1] like Brazil, Austria after Le Mans was good too given what we had at the time [Force India introduced its much-improved B-spec car at the next race], but winning Le Mans I think stands above all of it.”

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