Monaco or Jeddah? Hulkenberg has the answer
Nico Hulkenberg has revealed he would take Monaco every time over the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia.
The Haas driver savoured his latest taste of what has been dubbed the world’s fastest street track following his full-time return to F1 this season.
Hulkenberg drove in last year’s second edition of the event in deputising for the Covid-hit Sebastian Vettel in his role as reserve at Aston Martin.
Despite average speeds almost equivalent to F1’s quickest venue of Monza, Hulkenberg still prefers what is the relatively pedestrian pace of Monaco in comparison.
Asked as to his preference between Monaco and Jeddah, Hulkenberg replied: “Well, Monaco is the iconic Monaco you know. It always wins.”
Suggested to Hulkenberg that Jeddah had the speed, he countered: “Yeah, but speed is not everything.”
The German driver enjoyed a solid performance in practice for Sunday’s grand prix, finishing eighth quickest, just under six-tenths of a second behind the pacesetting Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.
Hulkenberg questions track changes
Despite revisions to the circuit in preparation for this race, with walls pushed back and kerbs revised in a bid for additional safety, Hulkenberg could not see too much of a difference.
“That’s the thing, it hasn’t really changed,” assessed Hulkenberg. “After Turn 13 and Turn 14, there the wall is back but everything in sector one, and again, the last part of the track it still is unchanged.
“Only really Turn 22 I feel has changed. They’ve tightened it up, slowed it down but the rest is very similar.
“Obviously, they’ve adjusted the kerbs. We don’t have these kerbs that beach cars anymore.
“The one out of Turn 10 is quite aggressive. It’s a bit higher now. It’s like climbing Mount Everest a bit with these cars.”
Given his pace in practice, Hulkenberg was reticent to suggest a place in the top-10 shoot-out was on the cards.
The 35-year-old had both Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz directly behind him on the timesheet, as well as Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes.
“I don’t know (what is possible),” said Hulkenberg. “We have a few good cars behind us. One Merc was behind.
“But Q3 is not where the focus is. Top 10 in the race is the focus.”
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