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Formula 1: Hulkenberg comeback: a man for special cases

Crazy! First coffee, then cockpit

Nico Hülkenberg was supposed to be commenting on RTL, but then did qualifying for Racing Point.

S.o It can happen quickly: Mick Schumacher’s Formula 1 debut fell into the water on Friday, but Nico Hülkenberg went from bad to worse on Saturday. Racing-Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer had to make a lightning-fast decision because Racing Point driver Lance Stroll had upset his stomach so badly that he was unable to get into the car.
Should he put the official substitute driver Stoffel Vandoorne in the car that has become available or Nico Hülkenberg, who has already successfully replaced Sergio Perez, a Mexican who was infected with corona at the two races in Silverstone? Szafnauer decided on his husband for special cases from Germany. “Nico knows the car, the team, we always have his seat with us. That’s why he was the logical choice. “

For Hülkenberg this started a race against time. “I was in Cologne, which is about an hour away from here, and I was sitting with a friend over a coffee and saw Otmar (Racing Point team boss Szafnauer, the editor) calling and saying:“ Nico Hurry up, we need you here. ”Then I got into the car and drove off. I had to think for a moment because, unlike at Silverstone, I had to get into the car completely unprepared. But in the end I am a racing driver and immediately set off. “

Hülkenberg can contest his 3rd race of the season

© Racing Point

At 1:34 p.m. he entered the paddock. 86 minutes before the start of qualifying. Everything had to be done in a hurry. Only today’s Sky expert Paul di Resta had experienced something similar. In 2017 he had to replace Felipe Massa at Williams at short notice. In contrast to the German, the Scot had already been to the racetrack the days before.

One thing is certain: Hülkenberg did not have time to get to know the car. The first laps in qualifying were just for orientation. In the end he was 20th and there was almost half a second missing to get into the second segment. “It was brutal,” said Hülkenberg, “the car has changed since Silverstone. The team worked particularly on the steering, so the new steering behavior was totally unfamiliar. Now it’s about getting used to everything as quickly as possible in the race tomorrow. ”

In any case, the man from Emmerich has not lost his sense of humor, because his prognoses for the GP of the Eifel sounded like this on TV: “Anything other than a victory would be a big disappointment,” he grinned at the perplexed reporter.

Alone: ​​The experts are already impressed. “He was in the car for just ten minutes, so it was a great performance,” praised Christian Danner.

His counterpart at Sky joined him: “I probably wouldn’t have done that to myself,” said Ralf Schumacher, “he has the best possible job due to the circumstances. If he had been right away at the times of his colleagues, they would have been too all overpaid. ” The six-time GP winner also had to consider: “For Vandoorne, this decision was like a blow in the stomach. What do you have a substitute driver for if you don’t use him? “

But the German doesn’t care. What Hülkenberg is most pleased about: “The Eifel Grand Prix takes place on the route that is closest to my hometown Emmerich. I almost cried that the year in which I am not there will be driven again . I feel at home at the Ring. I don’t know how many kilometers I’ve already driven on the Nordschleife, I certainly can’t count them. But the GP circuit is tough and is anything but easy of the weather. Experience shows that – regardless of the time of year – this can change in a flash. ”
That’s why the Emmerich wouldn’t mind if it rains tomorrow.

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