Hulkenberg puts positive spin on unenviable F1 record

© XPB 

Nico Hulkenberg believes that holding the record in F1 for the most race starts without achieving a podium is actually a testament to his longevity in the sport and to his perseverance.

Hulkenberg has started a record 193 Grands Prix without ever finishing in the top three, a number that far outstrips the second driver in F1 history with the most race starts under his belt and no podium to show for his efforts, Adrian Sutil with 128 races.

Hulkenberg has come close at times but has never finished higher than fourth in his career among motorsport's elite.

But rather than seeing the glass as half empty, the Hulk believes his unenviable record shines a spotlight on his unwavering dedicationand on a sense of perseverance that extends beyond the allure of champagne showers and trophy hoists.

"Obviously, when you start thinking about it, that’s a little bit frustrating," he told Autosport. "Because every racing driver back then and even now wants to win, ideally.

"But at the same time, I’ve never had the car. I’ve had good cars and also had opportunities to deliver the podium. Then for various reasons, it never really happened. Never clicked and happened.

"But, to be honest, I’m still in a good, happy place – enjoying myself. And if I reflect back, of course, there were things I could’ve done better.

"But I’m not bitter or frustrated about it. I’m in a good place and going to hit I think 200 grands prix later in the season – somewhere around Mexico [in October].

"And whilst not having the podium, I think if I would be so bad I would’ve not managed to stick around [for] 200 grands prix – so, there must be some good in there too somewhere."

Hulkenberg's odds of scoring a podium this season with Haas – a team that has also never enjoyed a top-three finish – seem remote. But if an opportunity ever comes his way, he'll certainly embrace it fully.

"I’m here in the current Formula 1 season, working day-in, day-out and trying to maximise the season," he said.

"I have to maximise what I have. And the opportunities in the past, unfortunately they didn’t work. Of course, that was very frustrating at the time, but that is what it is.

"There is that and someone told me the other day there is this statistic ‘most races without a podium’.

"But there is another statistic like ‘most points without a victory or without a podium in F1’. My point is that statistic speaks for me, actually."

Addressing the reasons for a seat with a top team always eluding him during his career, Hulkenberg singled out his lanky 6ft frame as a factor that likely hindered his chances.

"I’ve never had an answer where [teams] said, ‘Sorry, no – we turned you down because you’re too tall’,” he explained. "Probably they wouldn’t tell me straight to my face.

"But I’m pretty sure that it has, yeah, hindered the odd opportunity and occasion to jump to a top car.

"Packaging issues, less space, more weight, which is not the right way around in this business."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter