Nico Hulkenberg was getting ready for a sports activities automobile race in Germany when he acquired the decision from Racing Point asking him to fill in for Sergio Perez at the British Grand Prix.
Perez will miss the Silverstone race after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Hulkenberg, who was Perez’s teammate between 2014 and 2016 when Racing Point was known as Force India, will race in his place.
It is but to be confirmed whether or not he’ll achieve this once more when F1 races at Silverstone for a second time subsequent week.
Hulkenberg was planning to race GT automobiles this weekend on the Nuburgring. Racing Point F1 boss Otmar Szafnauer mentioned Hulkenberg didn’t want a lot convincing to alter plans.
“He had just landed in Germany, I think he was flying there to do a sportscar test or something,” Szafnauer mentioned of his name. “He mentioned yeah, I simply landed right here, I’m going to do a check’, ‘effectively perhaps you must bounce in an F1 automobile’, so he mentioned ‘yeah completely’.
“I feel he spent an hour on the bottom in Cologne to seize his boots and a helmet then he flew in to Birmingham 7/7.30 final evening.”
Racing Point additionally had entry to Mercedes reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez. With Vandoorne unavailable as a consequence of Formula E commitments, Racing Point felt Hulkenberg’s earlier expertise with the crew and current stint in F1 made him the perfect candidate.
When Hulkenberg returned to the UK a busy few hours adopted at Racing Point’s manufacturing facility, simply down the street from the Silverstone circuit, to make sure he was prepared for driving duties. He arrived on the observe on Friday morning simply 10 minutes earlier than the beginning of FP1.
“The final 24 hours have been a bit particular, crazy and wild,” Hulkenberg told Sky Sports after Friday practice. “4.30pm yesterday afternoon I acquired the decision and took the airplane right here, seat fitted at 2am and acquired into the simulator at 8am this morning for an hour to do some observe work.
“So it was a brief evening however all worthwhile. An ideal effort by the crew, I wish to thank all of the evening shift guys for doing an incredible job to get me into the automobile fairly comfortably.
“Also wish to thank the FIA for turning it round so quick on the superlicence. It’s been very particular.”
Hulkenberg completed ninth in FP1 and seventh in FP2, the place Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll went quickest. It was the German driver’s first session in an F1 automobile for the reason that Abu Dhabi Grand Prix final December, the place he drove for Renault.
Speaking about his restricted time within the simulator, he mentioned: “I feel I acquired to grip fairly rapidly with issues. It’s just a bit bit getting used to the steering wheel and among the capabilities.
“We didn’t have heaps of time because I had to be tested as well. The real deal today, we got the programme and many laps in, which I feel. I’ve really been thrown into the cold water here. I think my body will go through that tomorrow and the day after. It’s obviously a challenge but I’m not shy of that one.”
Hulkenberg, who holds the unenviable document for essentially the most race begins and not using a podium end, is happy by the automobile at his disposal this weekend.
“You can see there’s huge potential. I didn’t exploit the soft tyre as well and I need to use that tyre better. That’s what we are going to work on through the night and try and get up to speed in the best possible way.”