Nico Hülkenberg says that he misses racing in Formula 1 but he is not desperate to return full-time.
Nico Hülkenberg says that he misses racing in Formula 1, but after two strong performances in the first two races of 2022 as a stand-in for the COVID-19-affected Sebastian Vettel, he is not desperate to return full-time.
In practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hülkenberg got into the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s AMR22 seat for the first time and finished sixteenth, and he proceeded in place of Vettel in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and finished twelfth.
“Of course I miss racing,” Hulkenberg said. “That’s natural but I’m keen, not desperate.”
“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 race in Bahrain was his first since the Eifel Grand Prix in 2020, when he replaced Lance Stroll, another COVID-19-affected driver, and while he managed to get through that race rather well, he expected the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to be considerably more difficult.
Even though he was unable to collect points for Aston Martin at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, he felt a lot better after the fifty-lap race than he had anticipated, and he was proud of himself for not making any mistakes.
“Maybe I’m fitter than expected or because it’s not so hot but I’ve had tougher races, in the heat especially,” Hulkenberg continued.
“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.”
Vettel has already announced his return to the Aston Martin AMR22 for the Australian Grand Prix, and Hülkenberg claims his countryman will start the weekend on the back foot after driving 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,” he said.
“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.”