Hulkenberg: Monaco ‘unbelievable’ in new-era F1 cars

Nico Hulkenberg escribed driving a modern F1 car in Monaco as 'unblievable'

Nico Hulkenberg described driving a modern F1 car in Monaco as ‘unbelievable’

Nico Hulkenberg has described driving a current spec F1 car around the Monte Carlo as “unbelievable” following the opening day of practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The German has missed the event for the last three years, with Friday’s two practice sessions his first taste of the current generation cars on the streets of the principality.

“It’s mega fast around here now,” he said.

“That was the first time I drive this new generation car around here.

“I’d have to say, it’s probably the fastest thing I’ve driven around here, and that’s only on a Friday, so more to come tomorrow.”

It was a mixed day for Hulkenberg who brushed the wall in Free Practice 1 to draw a brief red flag.

“I immediately found a good rhythm, I was feeling relatively happy, and then unfortunately just clipped that wall sticking out of the wall,” he recounted.

“Didn’t break the car, just broke the rear rim, but obviously then you lose that set [of tyres].

“It wasn’t ideal but it will not have an impact on the rest of the weekend.”

That incident left the German slowest of the 20 runners in opening practice, improving to 15th in Free Practice 2.

“Obviously, if you look at the timesheets, it doesn’t look that great,” he admitted.

“But I think both Kevin [Magnussen] and my runs, we didn’t achieve the optimal full potential for different reasons.

“But lots to look at now, a lot of data collected also with regards to the new parts.

“I feel there’s more in it, but it’s once again very, very tight from eighth all the way up to last, basically, so very, very small margins.”

Monaco upgrade

Haas has debuted a new front wing this weekend, a part designed to increase the car’s operating window, according to Magnussen.

“It’s very small, it’s hard to feel the difference and separate it all out on this track,” the Dane said of the new wing.

“We would usually run one car on the old, one car the new to have a comparison in the data.

“We didn’t do that here – just put it on. We’ll do the testing in Barcelona and get the data on it.

“We expect it to be a small step, not in terms of overall downforce, just in car behaviour, but it’s very hard to tell and separate it out on this track.”

Like his team-mate, Magnussen also had a mixed day with set-up changes for Free Practice 2 taking the car in the wrong direction.

“It’s very tight; you only need to find a little bit then you get there,” he said.

“I got traffic on my first lap, my first pushing lap, and the soft tyres, it’s a one-lap tyre.

“So I think there’s a little bit in there, and then a couple of changes we did from FP2 from FP1, we’ll have to look at, see if we need to go back a little bit.”

Free Practice 3 begins at 12:30 local time on Saturday (20:30 AEST).

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