Force India's Nico Hulkenberg thinks he can finish the Formula 1 season on a high, despite the disappointment of the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi when he threw away a top-six start with a first-lap crash.
The proliferation of long straights in the remaining races should play to the strengths of the Mercedes-powered Force India, as proved by teammate Sergio Perez's impressive podium finish in Russia.
“I think Austin should be positive again,” Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com. “Similar characteristics to this track, very flowing medium/high speed corners dominate, and recently the car has performed quite well there. So should be more points and more positive stuff.
“For me personally I look for four strong races to the end of the season, obviously I want to get this one out of the system, and then finish the season on a high note.”
“A passenger” in first-corner crash
Hulkenberg says he was “a passenger” when he started to spin in front of the pack at the start of the Russian GP. He lost control of his Force India at Turn 2, was clipped by the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen and then hit hard by Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
“It was more or less the entry where I just lost the back end,” he said. “I had quite a bit or rear locking on the brakes, and that set me off with oversteer straight away and then I lost the back end completely.
“Obviously not a good thing in the first corner with the entire field behind you if you're facing the wrong direction, and unfortunately they couldn't all get around me.
“It was just a combination of a bit of cold tyres, brake balance probably a bit too far rearwards, and maybe a little bit too late on the brakes.
“It was not just a small oversteer, once it went it went completely, and I was sideways in the middle of the corner. At that point I was a passenger, so the damage was done a bit before that.”
Hulkenberg says he was not too worried, despite his exposure to oncoming traffic: “It was not very scary. It's a shitty situation, uncomfortable, but it's low speed in that corner, so not too worrying.
"If that was high speed, then different story.”