Ever wanted to know your favourite Formula One driver a little better? Ever wanted a glimpse inside their lives outside the cockpit and see what really makes them tick – away from the race track? You can with the help of our series, The Secret Life. Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg is our latest target, as he reveals his hatred of air travel, a cache of unused gym equipment, and the oh-so-guilty pleasure of a full-fat cola…
Q: Are you the kind of guy to have a ‘Plan-B’?
Nico Hulkenberg: Yes and no. Yes in the respect that you have your plan and if that doesn’t work out in your favour, you have to have another plan in your back pocket. No when it comes to F1. It was either make or break. There was no ‘Plan-B’ in sight whatsoever!
Q: What is your favourite high?
NH: Well, that should be a secret, shouldn’t it? But probably it’s an occasional full-fat Coca Cola…
Q: Who is your dream date?
NH: I have never thought about something like that. I don’t know all the women in the world, so how should I know? I am definitely not into that Hollywood type.
Q: Which film makes you cry?
NH: ’Marley & Me’, I think.
Q: What are you afraid of?
NH: Losing my job in F1.
Q: What was the last book you read?
NH: I’m not really into reading to be honest. I just read the newspaper every morning.
Q: What was your biggest (non-Formula One) speeding fine?
NH: In terms of money? I think it was a couple of hundred Euro. How much was I over the speed limit? That’s a secret between me and the police.
Q: Name five things that you hate?
NH: Waiting for the plane to take off, people who are not on time, I hate not winning, my own mistakes and miscommunication within the team.
Q: Have you ever dyed your hair?
NH: No, I am pretty happy with my natural colour.
Q: What was the first CD you bought?
NH: I can’t remember. Nowadays I am into dance music.
Q: Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
Q: What did your teachers say about you in your school report?
NH: He said that I am a great guy, always concentrating, and motivated… that kind of stuff. That is, of course, said with a wink!
Q: Who were your childhood heroes?
NH: No real heroes. I looked up to Michael (Schumacher) winning races – and cheered for him. No movie stars. I was never that fully into one person or one band as a kid.
Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
NH: I like sweets and chocolate… and cakes.
Q: Do you collect anything?
NH: Not in the real sense. I try to collect money!
Q: What would you die for?
NH: Not for anything really. A race win or a world championship… but you have to work for those things to achieve them. It’s not about dying for it to happen.
Q: What was your worst buy?
NH: Let me think. You know you sometimes buy some sort of training equipment and you honestly think that you will use it and get fitter and fitter, and then it’s tucked away in the far corner of your closet.
Q: How do you take your coffee?
NH: With a little milk.
Q: Your ideal non-race Sunday morning?
NH: A big, huge breakfast, with any kind of food, together with family and talking over everyday stuff. Then I’d let the food settle and have a little run. Very basic stuff.
Q: What was your first car?
NH: I had a scooter but I cannot remember the brand. Then when I was 20 I had a VW Polo. Now I drive a VW Scirocco.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing mistake you’ve ever made?
NH: I really cannot remember, so it can’t have been a big lapse.
Q: What is the best thing that you can cook?
NH: Cooking with a wok. Vegetables, rice and so on.
Q: When was the last time you were really angry?
NH: Ha, that was not so long ago. The last two and a half months were a pain, with planes. First in February you couldn’t leave Germany because of the bad weather, and then there was the Lufthansa strike, then the French air-traffic controller strike. And all that took place during winter testing! Then with the volcano ash, it was like an odyssey to try to find your way back from Shanghai to Europe. I hate all that with a passion.