Hulkenberg: Red Bull link is unexpected

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg

Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg

Linked to Red Bull after two super sub performances, Nico Hulkenberg says he is “grateful” that his name is even in the mix.

Dropped by Renault at the end of last season in favour of signing Esteban Ocon, Hulkenberg was sidelined for this year’s championship with the German driver hoping he would be back on the grid in 2021.

Talk of that, though, died down until Racing Point called him up to fill in for Sergio Perez at the two Silverstone races.

While Hulkenberg wasn’t able to make the starting grid at the British Grand Prix, undone by a power unit issue, he finished seventh at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Six races later he was back in the RP20, this time substituting for Lance Stroll where his very first lap of the weekend was at the start of qualifying. He raced from P20 to seventh.

Hulkenberg was grateful to have the opportunity to put his name back in the mix.

“My missions were very short and very concentrated, but I like crazy challenges,” quotes him as having told Sport1.

“I’m grateful that I got the chance because otherwise my name would certainly have been said a lot less than it is now.”

Such were his performances that the 33-year-old has been linked to one of Formula 1’s top race seats, Alex Albon’s Red Bull drive.

“No, I couldn’t have expected that,” he conceded. “So I’m all the more grateful that it went the way it did to get to this moment.”

Nico Hulkenberg

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Having raced for Williams, Force India and Renault, Hulkenberg says he is “extremely hot” for the Red Bull seat.

“To get another opportunity like this in the autumn of my career – I’m extremely hot for it,” he said. “And more generally I also feel how much I miss the competition.”

He is reportedly Max Verstappen’s favourite to take the second Red Bull seat.

“Verstappen?” Hulkenberg joked of his good friend. “I think I’ve heard of him.

“Seriously, I get along very well with him but at the moment I am not getting carried away with such thoughts.

“If it doesn’t work out then I’ll keep looking. I have nothing specific but there are various enquiries from other racing series.”

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