Hulk’s F1 race return over before it begins

Jon Wilde
Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point

Nico Hulkenberg’s mad dash to deputise for Sergio Perez at the British Grand Prix ended in heartbreak as he was unable to take the start.

The German only learned on Thursday afternoon that he was required by Racing Point to stand in for the Mexican, who had become the first F1 driver to test positive for COVID-19.

After finishing in the top 10 in all three practice sessions, Hulkenberg qualified in P13 at Silverstone. But around 30 minutes before the start of the race, it emerged there was a problem with the car which was preventing Hulkenberg from driving to the grid.

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Reports initially suggested he could start from the pit lane if the issue could be rectified. However, just over 10 minutes before the green flag was due to be waved for the parade lap, news filtered through that time had expired and that Hulkenberg was out of the reckoning.

Sky Sports reported during the race that Racing Point had informed them the power unit on Hulkenberg’s car could not be fired up.

All may not be lost for Hulkenberg though. It looks increasingly likely that he will get another chance to drive at Silverstone in next weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix due to Perez having to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of his positive test, although this has yet to be confirmed.

Quickly joining Hulk on the sidelines was Kevin Magnussen, whose Haas collided with Alex Albon’s Red Bull and spun off, bringing out the Safety Car as Lewis Hamilton led from his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Follow all the action from the British Grand Prix with the PlanetF1 live centre