F1 News, Reports and Race Results

Hulkenberg reverses course with ‘clean', well executed qualifying

Haas' Nico Hulkenberg delivered in Saturday’s Chinese GP qualifying a performance that was in stark contrast to his disappointing result earlier in the day in F1’s Sprint event.

Tyre degradation came back to haunt the German driver in the 30-minute mad dash, leaving him a lowly P19 in the running order at the end of the 19-lap race which teammate Kevin Magnussen concluded tenth.

However, revisiting the settings of Haas VF-24 ahead of qualifying instilled a welcomed boost of speed that Hulkenberg put to good use, his pace carrying him into the top-ten shootout and to P9 at the end of the session.

“The Sprint was a bit mixed,” commented Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu. “Kevin had a half-decent race. In terms of speed – we’re missing, but with tire degradation we weren’t too bad.

“With Nico it was another story. We have a pretty decent idea as a team why Nico’s degradation was so much worse than Kevin, but also why Kevin’s pace wasn’t great.

“With this year’s regulations we can change the car set-up between Sprint and qualifying, so we made some adjustments.”

Hulkenberg reckoned that a “wrong turn” on the set-up had led his Haas astray. But subsequent adjustments went a long way towards boosting his car’s performance.

“We dropped down the field quite dramatically in the Sprint – there was nothing obvious, no damage on the car. In the pack, right after the start, I think we ruined our tires over the first few laps,” he explained.

©Haas

“We were just driving in the dirty air of many cars – so we paid a big price for that. After that I hit degradation and just went backwards.

“Maybe we did a wrong turn on the set-up after yesterday going from FP1 into Sprint quali. We intended to make the car better, but it reacted in a strange and different way to what we expected in the Sprint.

“Then I was very happy with quali, it was very clean, not sure I could have asked for more in terms of execution and my laps.

“We remedied things from the Sprint, things were more in-line with what we expected – so I’m happy. I expect a tough race tomorrow, I think it will be a stretch for us, but I look forward to it.”

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Phillip van Osten

Motor racing was a backdrop from the outset in Phillip van Osten's life. Born in Southern California, Phillip grew up with the sights and sounds of fast cars thanks to his father, Dick van Osten, an editor and writer for Auto Speed and Sport and Motor Trend. Phillip's passion for racing grew even more when his family moved to Europe and he became acquainted with the extraordinary world of Grand Prix racing. He was an early contributor to the monthly French F1i Magazine, often providing a historic or business perspective on Formula 1's affairs. In 2012, he co-authored along with fellow journalist Pierre Van Vliet the English-language adaptation of a limited edition book devoted to the great Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. He also authored "The American Legacy in Formula 1", a book which recounts the trials and tribulations of American drivers in Grand Prix racing. Phillip is also a commentator for Belgian broadcaster Be.TV for the US Indycar series.

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