Nico Hulkenberg almost made his Red Bull debut at the Eifel GP with Helmut Marko revealing he called the driver after Alex Albon recorded an inconclusive test.
Hulkenberg was in action for Racing Point at the Nurburgring, a late call up to fill in for Lance Stroll.
The German climbed into the car for qualifying, finished P20, before racing his way to eighth place on the Sunday.
Racing Point, however, almost missed out on having Hulkenberg fill in as the German was in talks with Red Bull on the Friday.
According to Marko, Albon recorded an inconclusive test and while the team waited he spoke with Hulkenberg about driving the RB16 at the Nurburgring.
“I was in contact with him on Friday because Alex Albon had an unclear corona test result and we almost needed a replacement,” F1-Insider.com reports him as having told Sport1.
Albon’s test turned out to be negative and he stayed in the car, retiring from the race due to a punctured radiator.
The Eifel Grand Prix, though, may not be closest Hulkenberg ever gets to a Red Bull race seat.
Marko has tipped the German as one of two drivers, the other being Sergio Perez, who could replace Albon if the Thai driver doesn’t perform.
The Austrian, though, says he has been performing despite a scruffy Eifel Grand Prix.
“Albon has to perform,” said the team’s advisor. “Then he stays.
“He put in a good performance at the Nürburgring. We’ll look at this further.
“Outside of our squad – you can say that so clearly – only Hulkenberg and Perez are available.
“I basically believe that hardly anyone can get closer than three-tenths of a second to Max Verstappen. Albon can do that on good days too.”
Red Bull will confirm its 2021 line up for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri before next month’s Turkish Grand Prix.
“We are actually already clear about three positions,” Marko said. “We want to make a decision about the fourth at the latest in Istanbul.”