Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Nurburgring, 2020

Hulkenberg says last-minute call-up was “even crazier than the last one”

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg says his last-minute call-up to drive for Racing Point this weekend was “even wilder and crazier” than his return to the team at Silverstone.

He received a call from the team’s CEO Otmar Szafnauer at 11am asking him to drive for the team – just four hours before qualifying was due to begin. Hulkenberg previously returned to drive for the team at Silverstone, but on that occasion was able to take part in practice before qualifying, which did not happen this weekend.

“It was even wilder and crazier than last time,” Hulkenberg told Sky. “I was in Cologne which is kind of an hour from here. I was due to come here this afternoon anyway and do some TV stuff for RTL tomorrow.

“I was sat with a friend having a coffee at 11am when Otmar rang me and said: ‘Hulkenberg hurry, we need you here’. I stepped in the car, came here and the rest is history. You saw what happened now. A 2.0 return in a heartbeat!”

Driving the car for the first time in two months, Hulkenberg was unable to progress through Q1 and will start last on the grid.

“It felt quite different again to Silverstone,” said Hulkenberg. “Obviously a completely different circuit.

“The car has moved on too, a couple of technical bits that are very different and give the driver a very different sensation. So I have to adjust around that a bit and just find my feet again.

“Obviously in four laps that is not so easy. But all in all even though we’re last and quite pleased with the laps that we produced just now.”

Hulkenberg said tomorrow’s race will be “very difficult and a hell of challenge” given his lack of recent experience.

“But we’ll do what we can. Obviously I’ve got the experience the four laps in the pocket now those will sink in and tomorrow we’ll just go race and see what we get.”

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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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10 comments on “Hulkenberg says last-minute call-up was “even crazier than the last one””

  1. A bright spot in a dull-ish (predictable) season.

  2. Was the Netflix crew on hand to film it all?

  3. Getting in the points tomorrow will be like winning for Hulk. Too bad he isn’t going to be get that car next year. Hulk and Vettel would be a good combo. Though Stroll isn’t a bad driver either.

    1. The only driver you didn’t mention is perez, I have a hard time seeing perez at a lower level than those 3, at least at the same level I’d say.

  4. I admire him for going out there and try hard. He was pushing. Even with only 3 laps under his belt he came 4 tenths off Q2. Probably without that lock up into the chicane he’d have made it.

    Must be quite weird to go into qualy session with absolutely no knowledge at all of the car and conditions, even more ao on a track F1 has not visited in 7 years. The team surely could help him very little setting up the car and all

    1. If not for that mistake in the last part of the lap he could have been in Q2 @fer-no65, that is really a great statement after just 4 laps driving the car when he found out about driving this weekend less than 4 hours before qualifying!

      I don’t think they could do anything but maybe brief him a bit on what the changes to the car were since silverstone and fit the seat into the car! I really hope that he is picked up by Haas, he is far too good of a driver to not be on the grid.

  5. Awesome effort by the Hulk to come in, probably no simulator or preparation work, no set up data, no feel for grip or conditions in a car he has only driven the one weekend before.
    I am amazed he was so close to q2

  6. Consistently impressed by how good he is. F1 could do with having him back.

  7. Maybe they could have called him a bit earlier, since Lance was not feeling well Friday? He could have made it there for FP3 and learned a lot about the car.
    Seems a bit mismanaged, unless there’s some trigger clause that if you call a driver in you have to pay them some inordinate sum. Regardless, RP did this to themselves.

    1. @nanotech yeah I agree. They should’ve got him in ready to step in for FP3 given they already knew Stroll wasn’t well.

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