Nico Hulkenberg says he is motivated by the chance to lead Sauber next season

German ready to step up ahead of third F1 season

Last Updated: 11/12/12 10:12am

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Nico Hulkenberg says he feels more motivation than pressure faced with the prospect of being Sauber's lead driver next season.

The German makes the move having enjoyed a successful season with Force India, scoring 63 points and finishing 11th in the Drivers' Championship.

It was much the same story for Sauber, who finished just behind Mercedes in the constructors' standings after scoring a total of four podium finishes.

Now the two join forces, but with Hulkenberg acquiring rookie Esteban Gutierrez as a team-mate, he reckons he will have no problem coping with the responsibility.

"I feel ready for that," Hulkenberg told the official F1 website. "It's not a case of bringing extra pressure, it's something that helps motivate me even more, but to be honest I don't see my role as much different to the one I was in this year.

"I will simply concentrate on my job of trying to deliver good results."

Embarking upon his third full season, the 25-year-old took a few races to get back up to speed in 2012 having been forced to spend a year on the sidelines after leaving Williams.

However, Hulkenberg, who led the recent Brazilian Grand Prix before a collision with Lewis Hamilton, is confident he will hit the ground running at Sauber.

"There is no warm-up phase anymore, so I personally hope that I start performing right at the point where I finished at the end of 2012 - and that was a very promising point," he said.

"I am changing teams so there will be a 'getting to know each other' phase but I am confident that this will go smoothly."

Summing up his season, Hulkenberg added: "For me it has been a great year with Force India. I will keep so many good memories from 2012.

"Like I said before, initially I needed some time to get back into the groove after 2011 without racing, but I think we - the team and me - made some really good progress throughout the year with the team improving the car's performance and me developing alongside as well.

"So there is only good that I can speak about - no bad and no ugly!"

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