Formula 1 2013 driver profile: Nico Hulkenberg

The affable German has drawn comparisons with Michael Schumacher but he lacks the consistency to take his talent to the next level

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Team: Sauber
Nationality: German
Date of birth: 19/08/2013
First F1 race: Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010
2012 points: 63
2012 best finish: 4th
2012 position: 11th

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Hulkenberg has – probably wisely – laughed off comparisons between himself and a certain compatriot Michael Schumacher. However his nickname – ‘The Hulk’ – does give away at least a degree of similarity with the legendary seven-time world champion. Schumacher’s affability off the track contrasted with his ruthlessness on it, and it would seem Hulkenberg shares that champion’s trait at least.

Even if the Schumacher associations are a bit far-fetched, it’s impossible to survey Hulkenberg’s nascent career without comparing him to other, more illustrious, drivers.

He’s in exalted company, for example, when you think that he, like Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton before him, won the GP2 series at the first time of asking back in 2009.

But he stands alone as the first man ever to wrap up that championship with a race still to go at the end of the season.

So how has that raw talent in the junior ranks translated to the F1 circuit? Hulkenberg has shown flashes of his brilliance in the big boy’s league, most notably with an impressive 4th placed finish in Belgium last season and, of course, that heroic pole position for Williams at Interlagos back in 2010.

Those exploits have had Ferrari looking at him and, while a place on Schumacher’s old team is definitely a reachable goal for the 25-year-old, he’ll need to find an added layer of consistency this season to truly earn those comparisons with the metronomic Schumy.

2013 predictions: “There is no warm-up phase anymore, so I personally hope that I start performing right at the point where I finished at the end of 2012. I am changing teams so there will be ‘getting to know each other’ phase, but I am confident that this will go smoothly.”

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Did you know?
Hulkenberg has been known to soak his pants in cold water, then place them in the freezer before races to help him stay cool on the track.