27

Let’s talk some more about F1, shall we?

Up to this point, I’ve beaten the I-love-racing horse to death.  I’m sorry about that.  I just love racing.

OK, done with that.  But with all this F1 I watch, I must have a favorite, right?  Well…yes and no.  I do have a favorite driver, but I am hesitant to name him because the grid really isn’t too big so what’s the hurt in liking all (or most of the) 22 drivers?  I also kinda have more than one favorite, so how can I just pick one?

Meh.  Who am I kidding?  I have a favorite and I will tell you who he is, and why he is my favorite.

22 Drivers.  My favorite is German (narrows it down to 4) and has never won a WDC (narrows it down to 3).  He is one of the tallest on the grid (narrows it down to 2) and is definitely NOT Adrian Sutil.  That narrows it down to one.  The driver in the #27 car.  Nico Hulkenberg.

27

(Not my picture, as always.  But I do love this edit.  It’s just so cool.  Also, sorry it is so huge.)

What can be said about Nico Hulkenberg?  Well, I (and I’m not alone in this) think he is immensely talented.  I thought that before this season.  He can take a not-so-good car and bury his foor in the floor and make it an okay car.  He’s fast, he’s consistent, and he loves the sport.  He’s also hilarious outside of the car and very, very cute (but I digress).

Then this season started.  His car this year, the Sahara Force India, is a pretty okay car.  But so is everyone else’s.  The only car that really stands out is the Mercedes.  Williams is starting to stand out a bit, but other than that this F1 season has been Mercedes and everyone else.  That means that Nico, and all his talent, are busy fighting for points with the best of the rest.  Men like Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Button.  Men who have won World Championships, and have set the bar high for the rest of the field.  And Nico is just doing brilliantly.  He has this uncanny ability to make the car as wide as the track.  No one can get around him.  He drives so defensively, and it makes for a fantastic spectacle.

But, his ride to this season (forgive the slight pun) has not been easy.  Nico is not a small guy.  He’s like 6 feet tall.  That’s pretty tall for an F1 driver.  When the new regulations were announced for this season, Nico was put at a huge disadvantage.  With this year’s new regulations, the smaller the driver, the better.  The cars are heavier due to the power units, but the drivers have to be lighter to compensate for the heavier power unit.  This means that shorter drivers are slightly better suited to the task, and that taller drivers have to be as light as possible to make their efforts as competitive as the rest.

This all came into play last season.  Nico’s contract at his previous team, Sauber, was up.  So where was he to go?  There were rumors that he was going to go practically anywhere–McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari, back to Sahara Force India (having already driven for them).  But no one knew which rumor was true or where he was going to go.

Then Ferrari announced Raikkonen.  As happy as I am that Kimi got to go back to the Scuderia, I was so upset for Nico.  Putting such talent in a team with a lot of resources would have been so great.  Then he announced that he was in serious talks with Ferrari when they announced Kimi’s return.  Then I was even more upset.  He is so talented, and yet so often overlooked.  McLaren announced soon after that they weren’t considering so heavy and tall a driver as Nico.  Come on!  Give the guy a break!  Then came Lotus.  After their fantastic form last season, I, along with everyone else, figured the Hulk would be a shoo-in.  But then Lotus kinda just unraveled.  They were out of money, owed Kimi a ton of money, and hadn’t really made much progress on their 2014 championship bid.  But still, I was pushing for him to go there.  Besides, he would have looked so good in the Lotus black race suit.  Eventually Lotus made the decision to go for money, not necessarily talent, and selected Maldonado for their vacant seat.  I admit.  When I heard that news, I was devastated for Nico.  He had to be on the grid for 2014!!  He seriously is world champion material.  Besides, who still had an empty seat?

One team did.  Sahara Force India.  As I said before, Nico had raced there before.  And it’s not like going back would be a bad thing, but it just felt like it was.  For me, it felt like a step backwards.  But, oh, I was so wrong.  SFI has been a good fit for Nico this season.  The car has improved throughout the season, and Nico, up until today in Hungary 😦 :(, had an impressive streak of scoring points in every single race.  The only other driver to do that this season is Alonso.

I think another impressive thing is how he carried himself through the Silly Season.  With each team saying they weren’t interested, he just kept his head high, knowing that someone would take him.  F1 hasn’t always been kind to Nico (he was essentially fired from Williams and then had to sit out the next season as a reserve driver for SFI), but he still has that fighting spirit.  The Spirit of a Champion, if you will.  A champion that I believe he really will be some day.  (And his nickname is “The Hulk”.  How can you not like him?)

Hulk

(Also not my picture.  Thank you, internet.)

So, for all of his talent, fighting spirit, hilarious sense of humor, and love for the sport, Nico Hulkenberg is my favorite F1 driver.

Go smash ’em, Hulk.

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