Formula 1

Hülkenberg Admits to Missing Racing but ‘Not Desperate’ for Full-time Formula 1 Return

2 Mins read
Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Nico Hülkenberg admits that he has missed racing in Formula 1, but he is not desperate to make a full-time return despite two good drives in the opening two races of 2022 as he deputised for the COVID-19-hit Sebastian Vettel.

Hülkenberg jumped into the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s AMR22 seat for the first time in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix and finished seventeenth, and he continued in place of Vettel in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and brought the car home twelfth.

The thirty-four-year-old, who holds the record for the most Grand Prix without finishing on the podium, says he was mentally done with Formula 1 after losing his full-time drive at the end of 2019.  And he is not desperately seeking a return, although he would not likely turn down another chance should it present itself.

“Of course I miss racing. That’s natural but I’m keen, not desperate,” Hülkenberg is quoted as saying by GPFans.com.  “If it’s not to be…I was more or less mentally done with it, and obviously these things now, because of corona, did happen – 2020 and now, and who knows what might happen for the future.

“I see it being quite difficult and tricky to get a drive but if there’s an opportunity, call me.”

Hulkenberg’s appearance in Bahrain was his first Formula 1 race since the Eifel Grand Prix in 2020, where he replaced another COVID-19-hit driver in Lance Stroll, and although he was able to get through that race relatively well, he was expecting the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to be a much tougher affair.

However, he felt a lot better after the fifty-lap race than expected, and he was proud not to make any mistakes, even if he was unable to score points for Aston Martin at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

“Maybe I’m fitter than expected or because it’s not so hot but I’ve had tougher races, in the heat especially,” he said.  “Better than expected, so that was good, and I’m very happy and proud of my race. It was clean, faultless. I did everything I could with the car I had.

“Obviously the early Safety Car really compromised my race so we lost out there, which is unfortunate. That’s racing, I guess.  Although I’ve no idea where I would have finished without it.”

Aston Martin have already confirmed that Vettel will return to the AMR22 seat for the Australian Grand Prix, and Hülkenberg says his countryman will start the weekend on the backfoot having last driven the car in pre-season testing last month.

“Obviously he’s lacking those two races so he will start a little bit on the backfoot,” Hülkenberg is quoted as saying by Motorsportweek.com.  “But I think you know, he’s very skilled, very talented.

“I think he’s capable of catching up but for sure he has a bit more work to do and he needs to dig a little bit deeper to try and make up for it.”

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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