The sixth round of the series will be played out near Budapest and the 21-year-old is optimistic that the experience he gathered during the corresponding races in 2015 – his debut event in the GP2 category – will help as he targets success in both the Feature and Sprint races.
“I only did a handful of GP2 races last season, but one of them was in Hungary so I’m looking forward to going back this weekend,” Nicholas says. “Of the 11 tracks on the 2016 calendar, this is the first of only two that I have experienced before in a GP2 car so I’m hoping that will help me.
“Every race that I’ve done so far this season has reinforced how much of an advantage it is to have had previous GP2 experience. Every track requires something different from the car and something different from the driver when it comes to managing the tyres. Knowing the little tricks to save the tyres is invaluable.”
Nicholas, who is proudly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina during the 2016 season, performed confidently when he made his GP2 debut in Hungary last year. He qualified in P12 and completed both race distances as he recorded a best finish of 14th place.
“I did 65 racing laps at the Hungaroring in 2015 and it’s a very technical track,” he explains. “A lot of the corners are back-to-back and that means there isn’t a lot of rest for the driver. It’s very important to find a good rhythm if you’re going to set some good lap times. If you make a mistake at one particular corner in Hungary, it’s quite likely you’ll make another mistake at the next one.
“You need to have a high level of concentration and to be mentally focused if you’re going to put a lap together during qualifying and to drive well in the races.”
Nicholas’s hopes for this weekend have been further boosted by the form that his DAMS team showed when it contested the GP2 races at the Hungaroring last season.
He says: “My team-mate Alex (Lynn) got pole for one of the races and the team finished one-two in the Feature Race so it’s obviously a track that the DAMS guys know well.
“But I know I also need to be on top of my game this weekend. Since the last GP2 race, I’ve been training in the Pyrenees; firstly recovering from the back-to-back races at Spielberg and Silverstone, and then preparing mentally and physically for Hungary.
“I’m ready for what I expect will be a tough weekend.”