After a tough double-header, Nico Hulkenberg heads to the Circuit of the Americas in a determined mood as he eyes up a return to the points with the season entering its business end.
What's so special about the US Grand Prix?
Nico Hulkenberg: I really like going to Texas for the US Grand Prix. Austin is a cool city and has a nice vibe, so it's a great place to host a Formula 1 race. It's generally a great event and the enjoyment factor is very high. I quite like my food and America is good for that, especially burgers and the cheat stuff. Although, I won't have any fast food before the race, come Sunday night I'll be sure to tuck into some ‘local treats'. Year on year, the United States has proved to be a very fun Grand Prix weekend.
What's there to say about the Circuit of the Americas?
NH: The track is a real standout on the 2018 calendar. It's really well designed with a lot of cool corner combinations, which flow one after the other and requires a good rhythm. Sector one is quite similar to Maggots-Becketts-Chapel at Silverstone, as it flicks and flows at high-speed. That's what us drivers love. You need a good balance in Austin to set-up for the flowing corners and also for the two long straights. The circuit is quite high on brake wear and also fuel consumption, so those are areas to be wary about, but nevertheless, Austin is a circuit which puts a smile on my face!
What's the Hulk's mindset for the final four races in 2018?
NH: It's been a tough couple of races, but we remain positive and eager to bounce back for the last four weekends of the season. Japan didn't go to plan, but we're aiming to learn from what happened to be best prepared for Austin. I'm determined to be in the points for the last four races - as is Carlos on the other side of the garage - so it's going to be maximum effort to extract the most from the current package and ensure we keep fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.
Carlos Sainz battled hard to ensure he took the final point in Japan. Now the Spaniard has his sights set on the next challenge of Austin for the United States Grand Prix, a circuit which has played kindly for him in the past.
Why do you like the US Grand Prix?
Carlos Sainz: Austin is one of my favourite Formula 1 circuits. It has personality and charisma and is a little different to the usual Formula 1 track. You can feel the power of a current Formula 1 car there and it has the right blend of fast corners, fast straights, tricky braking points and 90-degree turns; all of which add up to create a challenge for us drivers. The first sector is outstanding and very fun in a modern Formula 1 car. It's very fast with quick changes of direction and high G-forces. I really enjoy these types of circuits.
What do you remember from your debut for Renault in Austin last season?
CS: It's obviously a memorable track for me as it was my first race in Renault colours last season. It was a good effort all round by the team and we had a lot to learn in a short space of time. It was a successful weekend and it meant I began my stint at Renault on a positive note. I remember qualifying being a lot of fun, and we made it into Q3. The race as well was enjoyable, where we were quick and made some nice overtakes. It was the perfect introduction to the team and I've loved every moment of the last year wearing the yellow and black.
What's the mood heading into race week?
CS: After scoring a point in Japan, I'm feeling hopeful for Austin. The circuit should suit the car better than Suzuka, so we remain positive. We have to keep fighting. We know the second-half of the season has been tough for everyone involved with the team, but it shows we have a lot of spirit. Even if we don't have all the pace we want, we're still scoring points, so we need to hold onto that and keep fighting and pushing. We can meet our targets.