Nico Hulkenberg recently admitted that he is growing frustrated with the trend of doing well in qualifying but failing to deliver in the race, which has plagued his 2023 F1 season.
When Nico Hulkenberg is in form, he has shown a miraculous ability to extract a lot more from the car than his teammate Kevin Magnussen. Unfortunately, that has not resulted in a strong race because of Haas' inability to keep the tires alive.
Hulkenberg has had plenty of strong qualifying performances this season where he has reached Q3, but only has one points-scoring result to show for it. He finished P7 at the Australian GP and grabbed six points.
Talking to the media after the Spanish GP, where a top 10 start did not result in points again (he finished P15), the German driver admitted his frustrations. Hulkenberg said (via Racingnews365.com):
"That's the trend and the characteristic we've seen so far this year and we need to try balance it more between Saturday and Sunday. Because whilst it's nice to bang out a nice qualifying, it always then raises expectation and then you get a downer on Sunday – which is not so easy to cope with."
Nico Hulkenberg looks back at the race in Barcelona
Looking back at the race in Barcelona, the Haas driver admitted that the main issue for the car was the inability to keep the tires alive. Nico Hulkenberg said that whether it was the soft, medium or the hard tires, the pace was just not there. He said:
"We just hit really high [tyre] degradation. All race long, right after the start I was eaten up, just instantly ran into heavy graining on front and rear and just going backwards. We opted to stop early, but the trend continued even on Medium and Hard."
Throughout the season, the Haas cars have been brilliant over a lap, but the race pace completely vanishes on Sunday. Ferrari have faced similar issues as well.
The American team has been trying to find the right balance when it comes to managing the pace over a lap compared to the long runs.
Unfortunately for Hulkenberg, a solution to this has not been found yet. However, the German driver has made a commendable return to the sport after a three-year absence.