Nico Hulkenberg eyes seat on 2021 F1 grid after super Silverstone

August 11, 2020

Nico Hulkenberg says he will continue talks with Formula 1 teams about a full-time return to the grid in 2021 - even if he doesn't get another chance to shine as a Racing Point stand-in this year.

Hulkenberg, who by paddock consensus was unfortunate to lose his seat last season, shot back to F1 prominence as a temporary replacement for Sergio Perez for the two races at Silverstone, and last weekend qualified an incredible third before securing valuable points for Racing Point.

His performances will only increase speculation about a possible return next season, and Hulkenberg admitted to Sky F1 after the 70th Anniversary GP that he is staying in touch with team bosses, but that a resolution might still take some time.

"There are conversations already ongoing for quite a while, not just now because of this," the 32-year-old, who left Renault last year, said. "Obviously that's kind of a process, you stay in touch with team principals, you talk about possible opportunities and what might change.

"That's still ongoing, obviously behind the scenes. I think it's still going to take a while to get an answer there, but that's OK for me."

Hulkenberg finished seventh on Sunday, although was on course to beat temporary team-mate Lance Stroll before being forced into a late pit-stop.

Could Perez return at Spanish GP?

While Hulkenberg impressed over the Silverstone fortnight, Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer said he was "99 per cent" sure Sergio Perez would return for the team at this weekend's Spanish GP.

Perez tested positive for COVID-19 before the British GP but after completing his period of quarantine, tested positive again before the second leg of the UK back-to-back.

But Racing Point believe Perez will be back in the car for the Barcelona race, with the Mexican needing to return a negative result before entering the paddock.

Speaking last Sunday, Hulkenberg said he thought he would be travelling just in case Perez wasn't available again.

"I don't know the full picture to be honest yet, I think we'll find out more in the next couple of days and then as we get closer to the weekend it will develop," he stated.

"I guess I'll be present, just in case he's not able to race I guess I'll be there to replace him again. But I think it will come down again to a late decision on Thursday."

Hulk was Hamilton back-up for Mercedes drive

Hulkenberg has never been on an F1 podium, but his career would likely have been a lot different if Lewis Hamilton had never joined Mercedes.

Let Ross Brawn, the former Mercedes boss, explain...

"I almost signed him years ago, when I was in charge at Mercedes," revealed Brawn in his column for F1's website.

"If Lewis hadn't joined Mercedes when he did, Nico was our next choice."

Hamilton has won five titles since joining the Silver Arrows, adding to his one at McLaren.

Brawn added: "I've always respected Nico enormously as a driver. He's a very strong driver who should be in Formula 1."

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