Nico Hulkenberg - Assessing The Dog

EvilWhippet

Podium Finisher
Nico Hulkenberg, otherwise known as "The Hulk" (for obvious reasons) or "The Dog" (reasons for this have briefly been alluded to a while ago by someone on Muzz606 who mentioned "The Monaco Incident", but so far I've been at a loss to make sense of this particular moniker. Hopefully an Apex clipper can help me out on it) was seen by many as 2010's most promising rookie.

Why wouldn't he be? He had a juniour career behind that puts even the pe-F1 achievements of the likes of Hamilton and Heidfeld to shame. In his very first season in Formula BMW he won the championship dominantly, with a certain moose named Sbeastien in second. This is massively impressive as Buemi had been in Formula BMW the previous year but was still defeated by The Hulk/Dog. An early sign of natural talent in the German.

A year later and once again he was dominating a series on his first attempt. A1 GP may not be the most prestigious championship in the world, but to come in and win 9 races, and leaving New Zealand 35 points off Germany speaks for iself.

It was in Formula 3 euro sries 2007 that his strengths as well as his weaknesses were magnified. Driving from 18th to first for his first win, along with his second win being a wet weather drive. However he also had run ins with stewards and competitors alike. Although he defeated eventual champion Roman Grosjean at the Zolder Masters of Formula 3 race, it was a non championship event Nico had to settle for 3rd in the championship, behind Grosjean and his former moose rival. In fourth was Kamui Kobayashi.

This being the first series he hadn't won on first attempt in some time, you couldn't blame him for becoming disheartened, but they don't call it dogged determination for nothing! He returned and dominated the championship in 2008.

In 2009 he returned to his old ways of entering a series and immediately being quickest. He entered GP2 Asia in the 3rd round of the championship, immediately taking pole position on first attempt. He also took a dominant win on his secon weekend in GP2 Asia.
This earned him a place in the ART team for the main GP2 series. Partnering Pastor Maldonado he saw off the likes of Petrov, Di Grassi, old foe Grosjean, d'Ambrosio, Perez, Kobayashi and Chandock to win on first attempt.

It's plain to see why expectations were high, so high that many saw his lack of points as massive dissapointment in the first half of the season. In the second half he began showing the natural talent that created such high expectations - scoring points in six races. It was at the penultimate round that The Dog turned into a greyhound in Brazil's wet/dry quali, taking a hugely unexpected pole. Williams first since...er...Williams first in a lont time.

Despite his flashes of brilliance, he still finished with less than half Barrichelo's points. Rubens was coming off a high, having been so strong in the second half of 2009, but over the hill he has been for some time.

So my question is simple, how do you fine Apex clippers assess the talent of Nico Hulkenberg? His record of winning the GP2 title in his first season is matched only by Hamilton and Rosberg, two of it's finest exponents. We didn't get to see him develop in 2011 as he, like other modern greats was a victim of £dollar£ over talent, as he was replaced by Pastor Maldonado.

So how good is Hulkneberg? Can Force India continue to regularly qualify in the top ten so we can fairly judge Nico's abilities? and just where did The Dog nickname come from?
 

gethinceri

Lance Stroll Fan. Alfa Romeo Fan.
Contributor
He's a great driver, i was really impressed by his A1GP drives. A solid driver i think and a good match for Di Resta.
I have a theory about his "The Dog" nickname.
 
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