Hulkenberg expects tyre management to be crucial

F1i 14:00 28/09/2016
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Force India's Nico Hulkenberg

The Sepang International Circuit underwent major renovation works earlier this year, as the track was resurfaced, while several corners and kerbs were tweaked and the drainage system improved at a venue where rain often spices things up.

The facelift meant the Kuala Lumpur event was pushed from its usual April slot to a late September/early October date that might create further unpredictability.

“It feels strange to be going to Sepang at the end of the season, but it’s also a nice change to mix up the calendar,” Hulkenberg said.

“Most of the races I remember in Malaysia have seen crazy weather conditions, in April, with monsoon rain, red flags and aquaplaning everywhere. I am quite curious to see how it will change now that the race is in October.

“It’s one of the hottest events of the year and the temperatures make it quite tough on tyre degradation.

“The tyres will be important here, managing them throughout the race is crucial and it’s an area we really concentrate on understanding with the engineers.”

Force India’s best Malaysian GP result is a pair of fifth-place finishes, courtesy of former driver Adrian Sutil in 2010 and Hulkenberg himself two years ago.

The former Le Mans 24 Hours winner hopes he can emulate this achievement with Force India currently involved in a close fight with Williams over P4 in the Constructors’ championship.

“It’s a track where I have scored some good points and where I had a strong race in 2014, so I hope to go there and create some more special memories.”

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Rosberg not taking anything 'for granted' in title run-in

F1i 22:05 27/09/2016
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Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg has turned a 19-point deficit into an 8-point edge over team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton, courtesy of three consecutive wins in Belgium, Italy, and Singapore.

“It’s an incredible position to be in as a driver, knowing you have a shot at winning every weekend,” the German said. “I won’t take it for granted. “I’ve had a good run lately and I’m enjoying the moment. But as far as the next race goes, or the next one after that and so on… it’s anyone’s game.”

Sepang was one of only three races (with Hungary and Singapore) to slip away from Mercedes’ grasp last year, when Sebastian Vettel stunned Hamilton and Rosberg to claim his maiden Ferrari win.

The current championship leader remains upbeat about his prospects though, based on how his team managed to win in Singapore after enduring a challenging 2015 edition.

“Singapore was a perfect weekend for me,” Rosberg added. “The team did such an impressive job understanding what went wrong last year and turning it around

“Red Bull and Ferrari are both pushing us really hard, so there will be some tough weekends ahead. It’s exciting for the fans and pushes us even harder to keep improving, so that’s a great thing.

“Malaysia didn’t work out perfectly for us last year, so if we can win it this time against such tough opposition that would be really awesome.”

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The Inside Line: Could Apple's Tim Cook take charge at Mclaren?

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Apple CEO Tim Cook plus Hamilton and Alonso all crop up in this week's chat.

Yes, another one of those titles where we urge you to judge our podcast by the title, or not. Disclaimer: we’re only having fun and we hope you do so too. In the Apple-Mclaren story, could Tim Cook be the man to turn Mclaren around? And how is it that despite attracting iconic brands such as Honda, Fernando Alonso and now Apple (possibly), Mclaren isn’t able to repeat its iconic performances?

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Also, is Fernando Alonso planning to pen an autobiography? We love the Alonso 2.0 at Mclaren and let’s hope he publishes his funny radio messages, if nothing. And, our love for him shot through the roof after he declared that he wouldn’t be interested in Pokemon GO!

A decade since Lewis Hamilton’s first ever Formula 1 test. We talk about his legendary career and hope that we don’t lose his talent to Hollywood or Music! A Hamilton vs. Vettel vs. Alonso vs. Raikkonen vs. Verstappen battle would be stuff that dreams are made of. Would Liberty Media have the liberty to engineer such duels in the near future?

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