Hulkenberg 'feeling hungry' amid Haas' strong momentum

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F1 returnee Nico Hulkenberg says his points finish last time out in Melbourne was a very positive achievement that has boosted his mindset and left him "feeling hungry" for more good results.

Hulkenberg is enjoying his first full season in F1 since 2019, having stepped in to sub for Racing Point/Aston Martin F1 drivers at four races in 2020 and 2021.

The German qualified among the top ten with Haas in Bahrain and in Australia – outpacing on each occasion teammate Kevin Magnussen – and scored his first points with the US outfit in Melbourne where he finished a solid seventh.

"I take a lot of positives out of this race and [going] forward," Hulkenberg said after his race in Oz, quoted by

"I feel a lot of good things happening still. I'm refreshed, I've got a good mindset, a very positive mindset, I'm feeling hungry.

"I really enjoy working with the team, exploiting the car, experimenting with the car, and we've got a very nice rhythm and momentum, and I think that's what we want to preserve and keep now, and take that into the next couple of races."

The Hulk admits that so far his results have exceeded his expectations.

"It's my third race after three years out," he said. "It's crazy and interesting how people get so used to it and spoiled so quickly.

"The first few races I mean, we've been in Q3 two times, once I think 11th.

"Kevin scored a point in Jeddah, I was in the points now, so I think if you take a step back and look at it, I think it's not a bad start of the season."

But Hulkenberg believes he can build on his productive start as his "connection" with his team and its car grows stronger with each passing race.

"Obviously the beginning of the season is such a steep learning curve for the team," he said. "But also for myself after the time away.

"So I feel pretty happy and confident that there's more good things ahead of us.

"I felt good from the get-go. I think the connection between me and the car, obviously, we're still growing, we're still only in race three. And I feel like it's getting better and better, which is nice."

And the 35-year-old notes that Haas is now a genuine contender among a fiercely competitive group of midfield teams, all of which are having fun battling each other.

"I feel you have the top four teams, or five, I don't know with Alpine, but then the midfield is five teams. So there's no backmarkers anymore," he said.

"We're all like in one bubble pretty much within a couple of tenths. So a small mistake can have a huge consequence.

"But if it's good also vice versa, you find yourself right at the top 10. But it's fun, so competitive."

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