Nico Hulkenberg says the frustrations of his first two Formula 1 outings have been tempered by the fact that fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel had an equally tough time during his first full campaign.
The Williams driver suffered a spin in Bahrain before finishing 14th, and crashed out in Australia last week after being collected by the out-of-control Kamui Kobayashi on the first lap. But despite admitting that he is facing a tough learning curve in F1, Hulkenberg believes the example of Vettel – who failed to finish the first four races of the 2008 season before earning his first win later that year – is good motivation for him.
"Is it frustrating?" asked Hulkenberg about his early experiences of F1. "Of course it is frustrating. But look at Vettel in 2008. In the first three races, I don't think he completed one lap and after that, it was a steep ramping-up learning curve. And that is what I am going through now.
"I am not saying I will be as successful as he is now, but it is normal that everyone has to learn. In F1, they are all really pretty good drivers, the best in the world, and it is not that I come from GP2 and can beat everyone straight away. I have to learn."
Hulkenberg has admitted that he feels a sense of raised expectations about what he can deliver thanks to his success in the junior categories.
When asked if he felt people were watching him more than the other rookies, he said: "Yeah a little bit, but it has always been like that in my career. I have to get on with it. It is not getting pressure and it is not disrupting my performance. I get on with it, and I should not be bothered too much by it. I have to stay focused and get on with my job."