Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020

‘Super-sub’ Hulkenberg deserves a place in F1, says Verstappen

2020 British Grand Prix

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Racing Point’s ‘super-sub’ Nico Hulkenberg deserves to have a seat in Formula 1, Max Verstappen has said.

Hulkenberg, who was dropped by Renault at the end of last season, has made an unexpected return to F1 this weekend as a replacement for Sergio Perez.

“He’s happy to be here and he should be here anyway because I think he still deserves his spot on the grid,” said Verstappen.

However Hulkenberg has been out of action since the end of last season, and admitted he found it physically tough to get back into a Formula 1 car at one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar.

“I could see after the first practice his neck was hanging to one side,” said Verstappen. “He has quite a long neck, so that’s not nice to have in F1. It’s tough, I spoke to him about it back in the day when he was still in F1 full time. He didn’t enjoy that.

“You can train as much as you want, the first time you go in an F1 car with these speeds, especially around here, you will be sore. You can train every day with your neck but the first time it’s always going to be sore so I’m 100% sure when he woke up today he felt it.”

Lewis Hamilton said Hulkenberg “looked like he never left” when he returned to F1 yesterday, but said Silverstone is “definitely not the best one to come to, your first practice, your first race, for the neck.

“Copse is flat-out so it’s a pretty intense combination of corners. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this morning he woke up with quite a few bruises and sore. But he’s generally always been really in good shape.”

“Probably the prep is a big part, your understanding of the car, that’s probably the biggest part,” Hamilton added. “When you don’t know the car, you don’t know the tools you have or the simulations that the team uses. I can’t even tell you how far behind he is with that.

“But he is a great driver but if anyone can do it. It will be him, for sure.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “‘Super-sub’ Hulkenberg deserves a place in F1, says Verstappen”

  1. Ideally, F1 would have 2 more teams competing and that would make 4 more seats available.

    And for anyone that will argue Hulk should replace Stroll permanently, I’ll counter that Latifi is even less deserving than Stroll — and I am Canadian and think it’s fantastic to have two canucks on the grid!

    1. I’m Canadian and I am not very proud that either of them are on the grid…

    2. As much as I dislike how Stroll got into F1, I must admit he seems to be doing a good job this year. He seems to have decent pace against Perez and has picked up good results. It is difficult to work out how good the car is though and whether he should be scoring podiums.

      Latifi seems to be having too many spins, however, he is only in his 4th race and being against Russell is not easy. Hopefully he’ll improve as the season goes on

      1. Stroll is way, way closer to Perez this year than he was to Massa on his rookie season. And there’s no question that Perez at this point is quicker than Massa was on his last year.

        So he’s improving/getting quicker, and one has to keep in mind he’s been pretty “safe” and kept errors/driver DNF’s to a minimum.

        1. When your dad owns the team anything can be happening with car performance between the drivers and nobody would have anything to say about it. I feel sorry for all of Stroll’s future team mates.

          1. Is that worse than where one driver has a clause in their contract that says they have the right to be in front of their team mate or that they have the right to reject an application for the other seat? I think Lawrence would want both cars to be the same, that he’d have at least one great driver, and that if the other driver was better than Lance then so be it. This isn’t a case of getting the best race result for Lance, this is about getting the best race result for Lawrence, his mates, Aston Martin, etc, and also Lance.

          2. Jose Lopes da Silva
            2nd August 2020, 10:12

            Yes, it’s worse. It’s way worse at many levels.
            I’ll just give an example. Vettel benefited of team orders at Ferrari but eventually was dismissed. Stroll can’t be fired.
            But what it’s worst is that F1 fans accept happily the Stroll thing. Some of them, at the same time, attack Hamilton because F1 is about “meritocracy”.

  2. I think everyone on this site said last year that there’s no way Hulkenberg shouldn’t be in F1. I can think of at least 10 drivers I would replace with him

    1. The fools at sky were saying Hul would finish top 5 even maybe a podium. Well he didn’t even get out of Q2.

      1. But his race pace was good in FP2, and he’s largely unfamiliar with the car. With some careful management, and staying out of his traditional first-lap fracas, he could well make top 5.

        While I’m hoping he does well tomorrow, what I’m really looking forward to is next week when he (hopefully) does it all over aghain.

  3. Hmm… Hulkenberg had his time. Proved to be worse than Perez, so not on the top level. There are plenty of good drivers coming up at the moment, so I think it would be a shame if Hulk was to stay in a seat next year, having done 10 years in F1 without a podium and crashing whenever he had the chance. Would rather see one of the exciting F2 boys get a shot rather than him.

    1. Who the hell have you been watching?
      Hulk is equal to Perez. End of. He is a brilliant point scorer and hasn’t had podiums gifted to him like Perez. He deserves to be on the grid, podium or not and crashing is seldom his fault, usually mechanical failure or someone taking him out . He’s not Pastor or Grosjean ffs.

      1. @genuinehulkfan Calm down matey. What have I been watching? Well, Hulk’s entire F1 career, including all three seasons of his time as teammate to Perez, in the latter two of which he was consistently out-shone. He’s a consistent points scorer, yes, but so are lots of drivers.

        1. Nico had far more DNF’s from mechanical issues than Checo for two of those seasons you so diligently watched, and ditto for checo the other year. I would say they are evenly matched when you weigh that into the equation. Also, as an avid watcher of Hulk’s career you will know that the 14-16 cars really played against his height and weight compared to Checo, which does disadvantage the driver and for which he held his own.
          Oh, and by the way. I’m not your “matey”.

          1. Cue western bar brawl and piano playing.

          2. @genuinehulkfan I know you’re not, and I certainly don’t want you to be based on the tone of your comments – I lowered mine as you lowered yours. And hold your horses. I didn’t say he was rubbish. Slightly worse than Perez as Perez can handle podium pressure/expectation better it seems. Just someone always has to be the fall guy in F1 and make way for new talent, and I don’t mind that being Hulkenberg, as he had a good long F1 career and had his chances.

    2. Yes, okay. You’re right … Verstappen and Hamilton are wrong.
      In future all F1 journalists should just stop wasting their time talking to the experts actually in the sport, & rather just come to you for your opinion.

      1. I think its fair that we know the context of these statements though. If they were asked a direct question about Hulkenberg, do you think it looks Good for them to be critical in any way? I doubt they’ve been watching him driving much so these are cookie cutter answers to not rock the boat. You say someone did Good and the question ends there. If you say he doesn’t belong or he did a poor job it leads to backwards and forwards comments which look bad and are distracting.

        Hulkenberg did okay given the circumstances but these comments are not evidence of anything.

        1. excactly, and the car based on 2019 merc seems to be very predictable, and he did drive a racing car before

      2. There’s always one isn’t there… Of course they’re going to say he deserves a place if they’re asked aren’t they? They’re not going to say about one of their colleagues ‘nah, actually… he’s not that good’. They’re just saying what the media wants to hear. It’s the only right answer they could give.

        1. The question the drivers were given:

          “How difficult do you think he’ll find it in the Grand Prix with, I guess, mainly on his neck, how big a challenge you think it is?”

          The drivers weren’t even asked about Hülkenberg’s driving or anything, just about his physical condition and how hard it would be to jump into an F1 car.

          Verstappen went out of his way to say Hülkenberg deserved a seat. You can agree or disagree with him, but he wasn’t forced to say it, he wasn’t asked specifically about it, and he could have just said he’s a good driver and ended the answer there.

      3. That why you never hear any F1 driver support Vettels presence….

  4. Hulkenberg no doubt deserves a seat in a proper car.

    Put him in a team with K-Mag and … okay, maybe not that :D

  5. Super-sub? Has he subbed before? He sure isn’t super. Seriously hate to see this guy get another shot. He is not even close to Stroll.

    1. Not close? He was .065 short of Stroll in Q2. Considering he didn’t get all the test days and three races that Stroll did, that is a very respectable pace.

    2. DaCosta4Renault2021
      2nd August 2020, 1:23

      Do subs for midfield teams ever get good results?
      They don’t have the track time that the main drivers have.

      1. Vandorne did in the recent past.

    3. Better than Esteban Gutierrez

  6. Might be subbed in for Albon at this rate?

    1. Yes please

  7. Nigel Mansell stepping in to a Williams in 94 and being right on the pace against a legend like Damon Hill was a super sub.

    Sulky Hulk going up against the worst driver for a long time and still be nowhere is nothing…

    1. With all due respect Damon is no legend.

      1. Haha, good point

      2. Agree, I don’t mind him and think he’s a pretty decent driver, but was no competition to schumacher and if schumacher hadn’t decided to fix ferrari hill wouldn’t even be a champion, he only won 1996 cause he had no competition aside from villeneuve on his first season.

  8. I think Racing Point is headed for a messy future. Now we know if the right driver was in the seat this team could become much more than they are with the current drivers. You buy out Pérez and replace him with Vettle. You then buy out Russel and give him something to tame.
    Sorry Lance this machine is beyond your abilities. Oh he can race and shows potential only because he is at his limits in this kind of machine. Give it to the level of driver who can get so much more out of it. This thing could be beating Mercedes. Gotta have a stronger number one and a teammate dedicated to getting the most points possible every time out. Racing point must move past the current drivers and then open up the wallet. I’m confident several wins are possible this season. But in reality so much more could be possible but I doubt lance could understand it.

  9. So why don’t you give the real guys like Alonso the other seat in the Redbull. Too scared?

    Hulk is rubbish. Ricciado sent him to retirement. Lol.

  10. roberto giacometti
    2nd August 2020, 4:56

    Let us all just remember , that if fortune had swung the other way, we could be here now looking at Hulkenberg as a 4/5 time champion with Mercedes, if, back when the musical chairs were happening at the time (both in the cockpit and the boardroom!!!!), he was the one selected to be the trained monkey to obliterate everyone in the technologically dominant machine.
    Instead we all have to put up with lewis being fawned over as if he were some kind of brilliant driver and the “G O A T” !! He was just in the right spot at the right time – and now look at the monster that has been created, !!!

    1. That doesnt sound very nice. I remember seeing races where Mercedes definitely wouldnt have won if Lewis wasnt driving that car. Many races. He is together with Max a step up vs the rest of the field. Sure he wouldnt have won so many titles, but I am sure his tally would be up to 3 in a more competitive field (car wise)

      1. Agree, hamilton would never have won so many titles with decent competition car-wise, but I don’t think 3 is a stretch in a competitive field.

      2. Think that’s harsh on Hamilton, even when on the rare occasions he was on the back foot, he still either manages to get points or wins the race. Singapore 2018, I think it was that year, comes to mind when Ferrari locked out the front grid and Hamilton was 5th on the grid, he ended up winning, a race he should never had won, but only a great driver would pull off such a feat.

    2. True, even a muppet like Stroll would have stolen a handful of championships!

      Hamilton’s are really empty especially against average teammates.

  11. I agree.

  12. He’s had his time and nothing warrants him back. The only ex who deserves a spot is obviously Alonso.

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