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Di Resta will have the advantage in Australia - Hulkenberg

ESPNF1 Staff
February 29, 2012 « Heidfeld and Sutil eye F1 returns | Lotus solves E20's suspension problem »
Nico Hulkenberg: "I will have to find my rhythm again" © Sutton Images
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Nico Hulkenberg expects Force India team-mate Paul di Resta to have the upper-hand at the first race of the season as he reacquaints himself with life as a race driver.

Hulkenberg made his debut with Williams in 2010 but had to settle for a reserve driver role at Force India last year and missed out on a season's racing. He has been promoted to the position of race driver this year, but admits it will take at least one race to get back up to speed.

Asked by the official Formula One website if di Resta will have an advantage, he said: "Yes, especially during the first races I guess. He's used to the procedure of a race weekend, DRS, KERS etc. and I will have to find my rhythm again first. But this disadvantage will probably be gone after a few races."

Hulkenberg has enjoyed three days of pre-season testing so far this year and has two more to come this week in Barcelona, but he said there is no substitute for racing.

"Driving in a test is very different to a race weekend. I think the 14 free practice sessions I drove in during 2011 kept me in the loop pretty well. But as I said, if there´s a deficit, then I will feel it more during qualifying or a race. During last week´s test I had two good days with lots of running, which was important to build a good feeling for the car."

In his rookie year he took a surprise pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, but he said he could only dream of similar results this year.

"I think that we have a realistic chance of finishing fifth in the constructors' championship," Hulkenberg added. "It will definitely not be easy, but I'm sure it's possible. Now for the hopes - I hope for some rainy days and some messy races that will allow smaller teams like us to enjoy some surprising results. And finally, the dreams - it would have to be many more moments like Brazil 2010!"