Hulkenberg: Haas one lap pace in Bahrain ‘a bit unexpected’


Nico Hulkenberg admitted that his P7 performance in Thursday’s second practice in Bahrain was “a bit unexpected” given Haas’ muted prospects as expressed by team boss Ayao Komatsu.

Last month, Komatsu had warned at the launch of Haas’ VF-24 that the US outfit would not hit the ground running in pre-season testing in Bahrain where it opted to focus its efforts on tackling its chronic tyre degradation issues and establishing a solid foundation to build on moving forward.

However, based on Thursday's practice runs, Haas might have a car capable of challenging for a spot in Q3 on Friday evening, which would be a significant leap forward.

“Probably a bit unexpected the pace over one lap,” commented a smiling Hulkenberg, who nevertheless remained firmly grounded.

“[There’s] no reason to get over-excited and over-ambitious now, I think there were a few people that didn’t do low fuel runs and have more potential. So, it’s going to be tight and interesting to see.

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“To be honest I expect a very tight field in qualifying, like it was last year, probably it will continue to be like that. So smallest mistake or a not clean lap can have a big impact.

“Not sure what it’s worth where we’ll slot in but we’ll put everything in that we have tomorrow and see what we get.”


On the other side of the Haas garage, Kevin Magnussen was unable to replicate his teammate’s impressive performance on the soft tyres, placing 14th overall.

Despite not matching Hulkenberg's pace, the Dane remained optimistic about Haas' overall chances. However, his primary concern seemed to be their car’s race pace and whether they have overcome the tyre degradation issues that plagued them in the previous season.

His focus on race pace suggests that while Haas may be performing well initially, their true test will be sustaining their performance over the full race distance.

“I think it’s been a pretty decent day, still of course big uncertainty on other people’s fuel loads and engine modes and stuff like that,” commented K-Mag.

“Lots of focus on race runs and that’s actually been looking pretty decent, encouraged so far, yeah we’ll see how the rest of the weekend goes but pretty decent so far.


“I think on low fuel it’s a big learning curve because we still haven’t had any, this in FP2 was the only low fuel run we did so lots to learn there.

“But it seems more simple than the high fuel running, which I feel like we’ve gone in the right direction in terms of tyre wear at least.

“Curious to know the real pace of the car in race conditions, but certainly tyre degradation is better.”

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