Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says he didn't expect new recruit Nico Hulkenberg to perform as well as he has so early in the season.
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.
The Hulk's results declined a bit in Baku and in Miami on the back of the Vf-23's tyre degrading issues, but overall Steiner is quite pleased with the 35-year-old's level of performance.
"For Nico, coming back after three years as a part-time driver, he came back really strong," Steiner told the F1 Nation podcast.
"I expected him to be strong, but I expected that form to come a little bit later, so I was quite surprised myself. In the beginning, he was just strong."
Steiner hopes the F1 veteran will uphold his form over the summer.
"I don't know if we've reached the peak, or is there more coming?" he added. "I will be happy if there is more coming, obviously. But I think he's doing a good job."
In addition to his results, Hulkenberg is also delivering a "good vibe" to Haas thanks to his pragmatic approach to his work.
"He's bringing a good vibe to the team at the moment," Steiner added.
"Everybody likes to work with him. He's demanding, but always in a good way. [He] never demands something just for the sake of [it]. He always can explain why he wants something."