24 hours ago he rushed to England after a call from Racing Point asking if he could fill in and he had to sprint into the paddock on Friday morning to get the start of the first free practice, but once in the car Nico Hulkenberg has it addressed ‘step-by-step’ at his return.
The German, who was thanked by Renault at the end of 2019 and missed the first three races of the postponed 2020 season, will replace the positive corona-tested Sergio Pérez at Racing Point. The choice fell on Hulkenberg because he has recent Formula 1 experience, knows the team (he was still driving for predecessor Force India) and has proven himself in his 177 Grands Prix to date.
Also read: Szafnauer: ‘Engineers thought Hulkenberg was the best choice’
Despite being an experienced worker, it took some getting used to for Hülkenberg. “It was a bit like being thrown in at the deep end,” he – freely translated – is quoted by Motorsport-Total. Not least because Racing Points RP20 is of course a completely new car for him. “It therefore takes a while to understand everything.”
“A big challenge,” he calls his first Friday back in Formula 1. “However, I took it step-by-step,” emphasizes Hülkenberg, who finished seventh on six tenths of fastest man and teammate Lance Stroll.
The biggest obstacle, it seems, was that the large Hülkenberg for a Formula 1 driver was not very comfortable in the RP20. Physically it was not easy anyway, with Hülkenberg predicting some neck pain – no matter how much you train, the best training continues to ride.
Also read: Hülkenberg replaces Pérez at Racing Point after positive corona test