October 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Nico Hulkenberg produced an impressive performance at the Korean Grand Prix to go from seventh on the grid to fourth by the chequered flag. He spent much of the race battling with Fernand Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, managing to stay ahead of those in faster cars to score 12 points for himself and his team.
Hulkenberg made a strong start to run fifth on the opening lap, behind Nico Rosberg and ahead of Fernando Alonso in the leading Ferrari. Alonso set about attacking Hulkenberg, but could not get past, even when Hulkenberg started to struggling on a heavily graining right front tyre.
After the safety car period caused by Sergio Perez's tyre failure, Hulkenberg saw an opportunity to pass Lewis Hamilton into turn 3, and duly did so. From then on, Hulkenberg was defending hard against Hamilton and Alonso, Button and Rosberg who caught up to the battle for fourth place.
There was one point where Hamilton got past Hulkenberg into turn 1, but Hulkenberg immediately passed him back using DRS. From that point on, Hulkenberg managed to stay ahead, largely due to superior traction coming out of turn 1. Hamilton was quicker around the rest of the lap, but could not get close enough in the DRS zones to pass.
Esteban Gutierrez also made a strong start, but then got caught up in the action in turn 3 when Felipe Massa spun and lost a number of positions. From that point, he was fighting his way forward, but ran out of laps in his pursuit of tenth place and a solitary point and had to settle for 11th position, less than a second away from scoring his first points in Formula One.
This is what the drivers had to say after the race:
Nico Hülkenberg: “Today I drove one of the best races in my career so far. I have had cars in the mirrors before, but today there were a lot and it was a bit annoying.
"Lewis really put the pressure on at the end, especially in the last sector. I knew I needed to get out of turn one well. The car’s traction was very good today, so that kept me alive against Fernando and then Lewis later on. We were also very fast on the straight.
"I had a good start, although on the outside into turn one, which was a loss at first, but then I had a real good slip stream and was able to get past on the outside. A big thank you to the entire team for providing such an excellent car today.”
Esteban Gutiérrez: “I had a very good start, then I arrived at turn three and saw what was going on. I tried to protect my position, my rears locked and that’s why I lost a couple of positions. To recover from that was quite a challenge.
"I had some good fights with Massa and Checo coming from the back. Of course, I wanted to score points today, but this is racing. It’s a great experience and will help me to improve my race craft. We had good pace today and are definitely able to fight in the top ten.”