JUNE 18, 2015
Juggling F1 with Le Mans was hardcore
As he bounces back to earth and his day-job, Nico Hulkenberg has admitted the last two months have been "hardcore".
And he is referring not only to the euphoria of becoming the first driver since Johnny Herbert in 1991 to combine F1 with a winning Le Mans foray.
He is also talking about his bursting personal calendar, which in the past few weeks has meant living out of a suitcase as he hopped between his Porsche and Force India cockpits.
"But it was worth it," the German told Sport Bild.
"It was twice as much fun, but also twice as much work," Hulkenberg smiled. "The months of May and June were hardcore.
"But the opportunity to work with a brand like Porsche does not come along every day; I've always been a fan and both sides were interested, so why not?"
It means he is now a Le Mans winner and still a F1 driver, but it was not all glamour.
"I bought a big suitcase so I could fit both the clean and the dirty clothes inside," he explained, "and had to cope with that for three months."
Le Mans winner Hulkenberg, 27, will draw an unusually large crowd of reporters when he enters the paddock of the Red Bull Ring on Thursday, but that is not because he has a chance of winning the Austrian grand prix.
"With the Porsche I had a car that I could fight with at the front, but in formula one it's difficult to think about the podium," he admits.
That, indeed, is how he will spend his weekend in Austria.
"We have not met our expectations" in 2015, said Hulkenberg, referring to Force India. "We did not work efficiently and well enough with the car.
"There is no downforce so we are too slow," he added.
However, Austria will be Hulkenberg and teammate Sergio Perez's last outing in the current Force India before the long-awaited 'B' version arrives for Silverstone.