Nico Hülken­berg


The Force In­dia F1 racer and 2015 Le Mans win­ner has plenty to say about sportscars and soaps and not ‘do­ing’ karaoke – or mul­lets

Sel­dom has an episode of this ven­er­a­ble F1 Rac­ing reg­u­lar fea­ture come so close to dis­as­ter. Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit has been buf­feted by high winds all af­ter­noon and now, as Nico Hülken­berg poses for our pho­tog­ra­pher be­hind Force In­dia’s pad­dock cabin, a stray gust tears a hand­ful of ques­tion cards from his grasp. At any other venue this wouldn’t be a prob­lem, but here we’re on stilts above a murky swamp.

Nico joins the breath­less scram­ble to save your ques­tions from their ap­point­ment with Her­mann Tilke’s wa­ter fea­ture. “Let’s go inside,” he says. “It’s way too cold out here.”

With the pre­cious cargo se­cured, we con­cur and head in­doors, bar­ring the door against the rag­ing tem­pest with­out, and be­gin…

Who has been your favourite team-mate to race against? Chris Lun­non, UK Rubens Bar­richello in my rst year at Williams. It was a chal­lenge to race him in his 19th year and my rst year. It was a big thrill when I beat him. That was a big achieve­ment for me. He was a fun guy and I learned a lot from him. F1R: But not to do that silly stum­ble thing on the way to the podium… NH: Heh heh. No.

Which cars are more tech­ni­cally ad­vanced. F1 or LMP1, and which are more fun to drive? Chris Ban­croft, UK Both are so ad­vanced that there’s not much be­tween them. There are some dif­fer­ences in tech­nol­ogy, but oth­er­wise it’s all state-of-the-art. They are both right at the top. More fun to drive? How do I de­scribe it… it’s like, not from a tness point of view… it’s like comparing a high heel with a sneaker. Some­times you wear that and some­times you like that. It’s just dif­fer­ent. Four­wheel drive [the Porsche 919’s hy­brid sys­tem drives the front wheels] against rear-wheel drive. They’re hard to com­pare, but I like my F1 stuff.

Do you pre­fer F1’s open cock­pit or LMP1’s closed cock­pit. And what about the halo? Michael Andrew Ros­ales, Philip­pines I think I’ve made my halo opin­ion very clear now. [He has said, on record: “I don’t like how it

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