An impressive podium finisher at the opening GP2 round in Barcelona, Nicholas jumped to eighth in the drivers’ standings before two disappointing events at Barcelona and Baku denied him the opportunity to add to his points tally.
Now, just two weeks after returning from Azerbaijan, the 21-year-old is eager to return to form in Austria – on a track he knows very well.
“I’m feeling good and raring to get going again,” he said. “Whenever I have a bad weekend the one thing I want to do is get back in the car and race again. The quicker you switch your focus the quicker you move on.
“I think I’ve tackled the Red Bull Ring every year I’ve been racing cars; all three years in Formula 3 and a lot of test days. It’s a track I like a lot. I’ve had some exciting races there, some fantastic battles and some good results too so I’m looking forward to getting back.
“I like the layout of the track, it’s great for racing and provides good opportunities for overtaking. The characteristics of the road itself mean tyre management isn’t usually such an issue and I think GP2 this weekend will be about as close as we get to flat-out racing.”
A further boost for Nicholas, who is competing in his first full GP2 season and is proudly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina, will be the expertise of his French-based DAMS team that has a strong track record in Austria and claimed a podium in last year’s GP2 feature race.
“The team knows the track well and they were very competitive there last year – there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be this year. After the last couple of race weekends the objective is to score points in both races. And for sure the expectations of the team are higher because of how well they did there last year,” Nicholas explained.
“Personally, I want to end the four-race points drought, especially because this month is so crucial with four race weekends in five weeks and about 50 percent of the season back-to-back. A solid result in Austria will set the tone for the upcoming races. I want to start off positively, work on my consistency and carry some momentum throughout all those races.”
Since Baku, Nicholas has been working hard both physically and mentally to ensure he is ready to give his best performance this weekend.
He said: “Obviously Baku was a weekend where we had some issues, so back at DAMS we sat down to analyse what went wrong. I want to learn something from each weekend and as an all-new challenge there was a lot for me and the team to take away from Baku.
“After that we switched to Austria preparations, discussing the track, analysing the team’s performance last year and doing some simulator work. I feel ready for this weekend.”