Nico Hulkenberg: Embracing Longevity and Persistence in F1’s Podium Pursuit

By Score More

Nico Hulkenberg sees his F1 record for the most race starts without achieving a podium as a reflection of his enduring presence in the sport and his unwavering determination.

With an unmatched 193 Grands Prix under his belt without reaching the top three, Hulkenberg’s count far exceeds the second driver on this list, Adrian Sutil, who participated in 128 races without a podium finish.

Despite coming tantalizingly close on several occasions, Hulkenberg’s career-best among motorsport’s elite remains fourth place, never having ascended the podium to partake in champagne showers or trophy ceremonies.

However, instead of perceiving his record as a disappointment, Hulkenberg believes it underscores his unwavering commitment and persistence that go beyond the allure of celebrations and accolades.

“While it might be somewhat vexing to contemplate, it’s important to realize that every racing driver, both then and now, aspires to win ideally,” he told Autosport. “But, simultaneously, I’ve never been given the machinery that could propel me to victory. There have been instances where I’ve had competitive cars and opportunities to secure a podium. However, for various reasons, those instances never came to fruition. The stars never aligned perfectly.

“Nevertheless, in all honesty, I remain content and positive. I will soon be reaching around 200 Grands Prix later this season – approximately around the Mexico Grand Prix in October. Even though I haven’t stepped onto the podium, if I were that lacking in skill, I wouldn’t have persisted for 200 Grands Prix. So, there must be an element of accomplishment within.”

While Hulkenberg’s chances of securing a podium with Haas this season seem remote, given the team’s track record of never clinching a top-three finish, he is fully prepared to seize any opportunity that may come his way.

“I am currently part of the ongoing Formula 1 season, dedicating myself every day to making the most of the season,” he stated. “I must maximize what I have at my disposal. In the past, the opportunities didn’t materialize, and that was certainly frustrating at the time. However, that’s the nature of the game.

“Additionally, there’s another statistic that someone brought to my attention – ‘most points without a victory or podium in F1.’ This statistic truly represents my journey.”

Hulkenberg also addressed the ongoing issue of not securing a seat with a top team, attributing this challenge to his tall stature, which he believes has impacted his chances.

“Teams have never explicitly told me, ‘Sorry, we’re rejecting you because of your height’,” he explained. “Of course, they probably wouldn’t be that forthright. However, I’m fairly confident that this factor has occasionally hindered my opportunities to move to a top-tier car.

“The challenge revolves around packaging constraints, limited space, and the added weight – a configuration that doesn’t align well in this business.”

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