• Malaysian Grand Prix

Hulkenberg not on the back foot

ESPN Staff
March 21, 2013 « Gutierrez hoping for Hulkenberg reference | Mercedes yet to show true potential - Hamilton »
Nico Hulkenberg: "I think what we've seen otherwise from the car it's performing at a level where we can definitely challenge for points" © Sutton Images
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Nico Hulkenberg says he does not feel on the back foot going in to this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix despite not starting the first race in Australia.

Having qualified 11th on Sunday morning, Hulkenberg was unable to take the race start due to a fuel system problem. However, Hulkenberg doesn't think it disadvantages him in any way going in to the race at Sepang but that it does make it harder to make predictions about what Sauber can achieve.

"No, I don't feel on the back foot," Hulkenberg said. "If you haven't done the race then it's always difficult to comment. You don't know where you would have been, things might have been brighter than you think, or worse, you just can't tell. That makes it hard and disappointing but I wouldn't say on the back foot; I think what we've seen otherwise from the car it's performing at a level where we can definitely challenge for points."

Explaining the problem which stopped him racing at Melbourne, Hulkenberg explained it was a rare incident which the team knows how to avoid in future.

"The engineers had a deep look and a good analysis of what happened - both at the circuit and back in Hinwil - and they understand the problem, they know what happened; basically a strong vacuum developed in the tank which did damage to the tank which was then a security problem which stopped us from running."

Although not racing on Sunday, Hulkenberg said there were still good points that he could take from the weekend in Australia.

"There were positives; there were a few. First of all from what I can see the working relationship with the engineers, what we've done with set-up stuff, how the team's internal things were going was all very positive and encouraging. We can build on that, I think qualifying could have been a little bit better but the communication is still growing, still getting better together."

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