Mallya hails Hulkenberg’s “incredible” Le Mans win

2015 F1 season

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Force India team principal Vijay Mallya praised Nico Hulkenberg’s “incredible” victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours yesterday.

Hulkenberg was competing in the race for the first time and shared victory at the wheel of a Porsche 919 with Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.

The Force India driver was the first active F1 competitor to enter the race since Sebastien Bourdais in 2009. After the race Hulkenberg thanked Mallya on Twitter for “making this possible”.

Mallya said Hulkenberg’s victory was a clear demonstration of his ability. “The 24 Hours is one of the great spectacles of motorsport,” he said. “It is an amazing race that demands total commitment from drivers and cars.”

“Nico’s performance displayed his immense talent and made all of us at Sahara Force India proud. I truly hope he will be boosted by this success and translate it into another great performance in Austria.”

Force India is preparing to bring an upgraded version of their VJM08 which Mallya says should be ready in time for the British Grand Prix. “We are still on course to introduce an important step in Silverstone next month,” he said.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Mallya hails Hulkenberg’s “incredible” Le Mans win”

  1. I am now looking forward to both of Force India’s 2016 drivers asking to do Le Mans in return for making sure Vijay gets the best seats in the house they can arrange.

    1. I couldn’t believe it,there was no mention of the British drivers wins last night on the news/sports news, terrible for such an iconic race as Le Mans.

      1. @rourke Yes, disappointed with the BBC. The article finally popped up in my RSS feed at about 10pm on Sunday, with a short matter of fact description.

  2. “Nico’s performance displayed his immense talent and made all of us at Sahara Force India proud. I truly hope he will be boosted by this success and translate it into another great performance in Austria.”

    Sadly he has to go back to a terrible car that can only hope to stand in the shadow of the 919…

    1. It’s terrible in terms of F1, definitely quicker than the Porsche and looks nicer too.

      1. @williamstuart Build for completely different regulations and each with a different budget, but even then the 919 is twice the car the VJM08 ever will be. Hulkenberg knows that and I doubt he’s looking forward to Austria…

        1. No, racing drivers always want the fastest possible cars and want to drive them as fast as possible. The only quantifiable measurement of a car for racing drivers is the lap time and the VJM08 is far faster than that Porsche. Why would he prefer to drive a slower car in which you cannot run as hard as an F1 car.
          The regulations are irrelevant, the F1 car is faster and I doubt any racing driver cares much about anything else.

      2. @williamstuart
        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, personally I’d love to put up some pictures of the current LMP cars at home (if the wife would let me), I can’t say the same of any F1 car from the last few years. Those snow plough front wings, high rear wings, ugly noses and the generally messy design of the current cars does nothing for me aesthetically.

        1. @beneboy I have a picture of all 9 Porsche LMP1 drivers (with signature) on my wall, managed to get them all in Spa.

          1. Oh that’s BEAUTIFUL!

          2. @xtwl
            Now you’ve got me jealous !

            I’ve got a print of Senna and Mansell sparking down the straight from Spain 91, and an enlarged photo I took of Schumi sitting on the wheel of his F310B from a Ferrari event I was lucky enough to win tickets for but the wife won’t let me put more up. She remembers how every wall of my last house was covered in pictures of cars, bikes and racers and doesn’t want our home looking like that. Apparently it makes the place look like a student dive.
            I don’t know what her problem is, I don’t complain about her putting up pictures of her family, and none of them look as cool as the 956 with the Rothmans livery or a GT40 with Gulf livery…

          3. @beneboy Hehe. I find it hard to find good pictures of old cars. The 919 isn’t really my favorite (Porsche) Le Mans car…

          4. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
            15th June 2015, 21:14

            @xtwl lucky you and your picture. @beneboy I agree with you, wives don’t always agree with our tastes. After a terrible argument one day, she tore into pieces my PJ Tierney poster (to be fair, I deserved much more than that in that day).

          5. When I was a youngster I had a Jim Clark print on my wall. Wish I still had it.

    2. It went well in Canada, no reason it can’t in the coming low downforce races (Austria, Spa, Monza).

      1. Monza: Vettel-Hulkenberg-Raikkonen on podium.

  3. I want to believe that this will open the door for Nico to get a much better drive with a top team next year but I also know that in F1 people are self-centered and have very short memories, we’ll see.

    1. I am willing to bet a large sum of money that his phenomenal drive absolutely will open the door for Nico to get a much better drive with a top team next year…of course, that team will be Porsche, but you didn’t specify an F1 team, now did you?

  4. What I love about Hulkenberg’s win is that it was a victory on pace rather than attrition with all eight of the LMP1 H squads finishing (not counting the Nissans). Even last year, one could argue the Audi “dream team” only won because of the retirement of the #7 Toyota. Also, the #17 crew, probably the pre-race favourites, had a race with very few extenuating circumstances. Yes, the #17 received a hefty penalty mid-race, but did this deny the #17 Le Mans glory? No, Hulkenberg was too fast during his dusk stint, and Tandy’s nighttime pace was just too good for the #17.

    However the impact this somewhat shock victory will make on Hulkenberg’s career is difficult to approximate. In some regards it helps his chances of his dream drive with Ferrari, since the paddock are once again speaking his name and revealing at his undeniably immense talent. However, equally, why would Ferrari be interested in somebody who is quick at night or at weaving around GTE traffic, but has been struggling to assert complete dominance over Perez recently? It certainly isn’t bad for his future though!

    But what about the rivals for Kimi’s seat. With Bianchi unfortunately no longer among the contenders, it has appeared to most in the paddock like a simple replacement of one Finn for another. But is Bottas really destined to race in red, when he is managed by Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and by Mercedes ambassador Mikka Hakkinen? Will the prospect of Ferrari be able to defeat a virtually guaranteed contract replacing Rosberg for 2017? We cannot know, but Ferrari must look for alternatives. Ricciardo and Hulkenberg are those alternatives.

    If Bottas chooses silver over red, and if Vettel vetoes a Ricciardo deal, then I think it is distinctly possible that Hulkenberg may finally drive an F1 car befitting of his talent. After all, an F1 championship is the only thing missing from Nico’s CV.

    1. #HulkToFerrari #ForzaHulk

    2. @countrygent After the #7 Toyota dropped out last year the victory was looking quite food for the #14 Porsche of Webber/Bernhard/Harltey before the Audis. They were going to win had the last few hours remained normal, sadly they did have an issue that resulted in retirement. Otherwise the #14 could have been 1st, or surely 2nd.

      1. @xtwl The #20 of Webber/Bernhard/Hartley was behind both Audis and lapping more slowly at the point of the #7’s retirement. The #20 only entered into contention after the #2 required a turbo change, and after the #1 suffered electronic gremlins. Lotterer was about five seconds faster and probably only half an hour away from the #20’s gearbox when retired; there was never any chance of the victory for Porsche.

        Still, they were leading with two hours to go at their first Le Mans which is a fair bit more than Nissan managed…

        1. @countrygent Yes #20, don’t know why I wrote #14. As far as I remember it the delta said Audi was only going to catch the Porsche by the very end of the race… had the Audis been in the pits a minute longer they might have lost it. All ifs and buts anyway. They won this year.

          Nissan their performance was really sad indeed, but honestly so was Toyota their performance. Seems there is still going to be only one Japanese win.

          1. @xtwl Waiting for a non-Wankel Japanese win… :)

    3. I think Bottas would be more suited for Mercedes, and Ricciardo is reported to have an iron-clad contract with Red Bull. Versus Vettel, I’m not sure about Bottas, he is a bit unknown, but Ricciardo would surely give a run for his money but it is more likely upset the balance at Ferrari. I’m not sure why, maybe because of their characters. Also, I’m not as sure of Ricciardo as most people. But Hulkenberg would be the best choice for Ferrari. He’s not unknown and already seen as a candidate by Ferrari. Moreover, I think Vettel vs Hulkenberg would push the team and both the drivers. Somehow their characters look suitable for teammates. They are both good qualifiers and consistent drivers. If Ferrari were to give those 2 the car, it is for sure they would bring in the WCC.
      There is just something there that I am just sure Vettel&Hulkenberg@Ferrari would be by far THE best team on grid. Not to mention the prestige of having the quadruple world champion and the only Le Mans winner on grid for a driver line-up at FERRARI.

      1. If Ferrari were to give those 2 the car, it is for sure they would bring in the WCC.

        Thing is they don’t care for it. They want WDC.

        1. I know that. What I mean is if the car is fast enough they could win WDC, but they would bring WCC.

    4. Yeah, I was at Le Mans and listening to Radio Le Mans at the same time. One of their broadcasters predicted Hulkenberg would get all the glory if his car held on to win.

      Hulkenberg did his team no favor by losing a few places in the first few laps.

      Nick Tandy had an absolutely heroic drive during the night. He’s the one that opened up a tight race and gave his team some breathing room.

  5. Hulkenberg did not win Le Mans 2015!

    Three drivers, one of which was Hulkenberg, the others Nick Tandy & Earl Bamber drove the Porsche 919 to the win. All three drivers made equally crucial contributions.

    Why the hell does the news appear to be reporting that the entire event was single handedly won by Hulkenberg???

    Grrrr! As The Hulk would say.

    1. Nick Tandy & Earl Bamber were clearly mentioned in the article.

      1. They should be sharing the headline!

        1. Go start your own blog, you can write whatever headlines you like then.

          1. Yeah. Really, really, really, really, really, really, really long headlines.

        2. Tandy and Bamber aren’t of much consequence to Vijay Mallya, given that they don’t drive for Force India.

    2. this is an F1 site after all. For another angle try ITV (“Brit Tandy wins Le Mans”!) or a Kiwi news report…

      1. Try telling that to Keith when he’s on tele! :)

        It’s a multi-discipline site. It does not limit itself to F1.

    3. Hulkenberg DID win Le Mans 2015, along with 2 other drivers: Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber driving #19 Porsche 919.
      This is a website focused on F1, it is only normal the headline mentions Hulkenberg winning Le Mans.

    4. Vijay Mallya isn’t Nick Tandy or Earl Bamber’s boss…

  6. The Incredible Hulk. Yes. Good to see him in the spotlight again. Now let everyone in the paddock turn green in envy.

    1. He should be the most sought after driver in paddock this weekend! There are 5 champions on the grid, but only 1 Le Mans winner. #ForzaHulk

  7. This is a really nice victory. :)

  8. There is still a bit of spit and sawdust in endurance racing. It isn’t primped and coiffed to within an inch of its life. It still feels like an activity for adults (of both sexes), while F1 seems to have become a highly-expensive corporate theme-park ride for people who would otherwise be in boy-bands.

    1. Monte-Carlo Street Boys: Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, and new addition to the group…..Nico Hulkenberg!

  9. This has actually turned out to be a great promotional boost for Nico and Force India, so I guess I made sense after all, as Porsche and Force India aren’t rivals in either the WEC or F1. And the feeling I get when a driver races in multiple categories and/or with different teams is that his talent is of appeal to everyone, the exact opposite of seeing a pay-driver stuck into a backmarker team for years.

    1. Having watched about 14 of the 24 WEC livestream hours, I’d say it was much more a promotional boost for Le Mans and WEC than for anything F1. With Hulkenberg, Webber, Max Chilton and others now participating in WEC I’d suspect that many contracts will adjusted in the future to allow WEC particpation by F1 drivers.
      In an article elsewhere, Hulkenberg said that several of the other F1 drivers had been asking him about WEC, which I think is now presenting a much more interesting, enagaging, and purer form of racing that the overengineered, undercompetitive, hyperegulated, and ostentatious “show” that we’ve been seeing of late.
      A huge, top-performing, multiclass field of top notch competitive teams and racers is everything to which F1 should aspire.

  10. Hats off to Nico Hulkenberg and his team for the outstanding win! Kudos to FI for letting him race. This is what race drivers used to do. Race anywhere and any time they could. It’s not their fault that doesn’t happen as much these days, the drivers are certainly willing. Corporate contracts rule the day, ask Alonso. Not only has the chance to race and do so well helped Hulk, no doubt it has raised the good will for his Force India team as well. We need more of this, please.

  11. this article is typical of F1 websites – and (also general motorsport sites) – putting the glory all on Hulkenburg and not his teammates, the article title is -Mallya hails Hulkenberg’s “incredible” Le Mans win- but the word incredible was not used in the Mallya quotes, but put in the article by Keith, and put in brackets for the title.

    1. the word incredible was not used in the Mallya quotes, but put in the article by Keith

      Mallya did describe Hulkenberg’s performance using the word “incredible” which is why he is quoted as doing so in the headline and in the first paragraph of the article.

      putting the glory all on Hulkenburg and not his team mates

      Those would be the same team mates which are also mentioned at the beginning of the article? And at the beginning of the article about the race itself?

      And would you really expect Nick Tandy or Earl Bamber, who have no connection to Force India, to have been mentioned by Vijay Mallya?

      Enough of the cheap and tiresome attempts at points-scoring, please. I know there were three drivers in the car, I haven’t pretended otherwise, and I don’t know why you’re so desperate to insist I have.

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