Nico Hulkenberg says that he’s a much stronger driver after his year as Sahara Force India’s reserve.
The German drove in 14 practice sessions over the course of 2011, and did enough to justify a race seat for next season.
“I haven’t been racing, but I have been driving the car, I have been around, I’ve done the simulator, and I’ve been involved with everything,” he told this blog. “So it’s not as new to me as in the beginning of 2010. I’ve still developed and learned in different ways.”
He admitted that being out for a year has made him more motivated: “It’s absolutely true, it makes you appreciate what you have then.”
Hulkenberg says he doesn’t know what the team’s real potential is for next year, although obviously showing well against Paul Di Resta is a priority.
“I wouldn’t say so much in terms of results. I’m back now, I want to establish myself, satisfy my team. As you say, your team mate is always the reference point. He’s very competitive, and in his second year he will also up his game a little bit, so it’s difficult to judge. I’m just pleased for the moment that I’m back, and I’ll try as hard as I can to make myself and the team happy.”