Nico Hulkenberg says the F1 2022 Bahrain GP was the moment when he and Kevin Magnussen broke the ice and became cordial with each other.
The relation between the current Haas pair Hulkenberg and Magnussen got strained back in 2017 when the Dane made the infamous ‘suck my balls’ comment to the German in the TV media pen after the two had a scruff during the Hungarian GP.
Even though it seemed harmless and a lot of memes were made out of it, both Hulkenberg and Magnussen did not particularly enjoy a very healthy relation. But five years later, after both became parents and had a balanced life on and off the track, things changed.
They adopted a more mature route as Hulkenberg revealed. The German noted the 2022 Bahrain GP as the pivotal moment in kick-starting a respectful relationship with Magnussen. At that time, the Dane made a surprise return to Haas and F1.
At the same time, Hulkenberg was drafted in to drive for Aston Martin after Sebastian Vettel caught COVID-19. The German noted that he reached out to Magnussen at the time of 2022 driver photo as the two were seen shaking hands and smiling in videos/photos.
“We actually sort of broke the ice here 12 months ago when I stepped in for Seb. There’s this driver picture on Sunday morning and we happened to be standing behind each other and I sort of thought it’s time to break the ice and reached out with a hand and with a smile and put his words into his face,” revealed Hulkenerg.
“And that’s where our relationship actually started, 12 months ago, and ever since, it’s actually been pretty good. We’ve been hanging out a bit over the winter, in the UK, doing some marketing and media stuff. And yeah, so far, so good. I feel no tension or friction between us. He’s a dad, too. So we’re both in similar positions in our life. And looking forward to working alongside him,” summed up Hulkenberg.
When Haas announced the hiring of Hulkenberg to replace Mick Schumacher, there were questions around the topic of handling two drivers who have had friction before. But the mature approach from the two last year paid dividends in having a good start.
Both Hulkenberg and Magnussen continue to banter about the comments but have had a good relation which is key for Haas to succeed this year. The German feels refreshed after couple of years out, even though he had some outings for Racing Point/Aston Martin.
“I think the approach is similar, but you know, I just feel refreshed, reset, very positive and in a good state of mind, ready to go again,” said Hulkenberg. “Obviously, I’ve done a couple of seasons, so I know what’s coming. I know what to expect [ahead].”
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