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Nico Hulkenberg reflects on life outside F1

Nico Hulkenberg left his Formula 1 fate up to the teams while he enjoyed some time off from the track

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Nico Hulkenberg admitted that he “wasn’t too stressed” about returning to F1 but “the desire” to get back to racing was still there.

Nico Hulkenberg started P3 on the grid during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone (Image Credit: Formula 1)

The German left the sport in 2019 after two years with Renault. Throughout the years, fans hoped to see him on the podium, however, the odds weren’t in his favour. Despite this, Hulkenberg still left a legacy in F1 and one cannot deny his skill and experience.

These came very useful in the years to follow, having Racing Point and Aston Martin take him on as a reserve driver. He proved to be very helpful, especially in 2020 when the sport was highly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 35-year-old replaced Sergio Perez at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix and once again at the same track when Formula 1 celebrated their 70th anniversary.

During that race, Hulkenberg earned six points. At another race, this time replacing Lance Stroll in Canada, the German finished the race earning the team four points. A year later, Racing Point were rebranded as Aston Martin.

The team signed him on as a reserve and test driver. Along with simulator work, Hulkenberg also filled in for Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He finished the races with no points. After that, Hulkenberg performed the Pirelli test in Hungary and kept on doing much behind-the-scene work.

At another garage, Haas were looking for someone to replace Mick Schumacher. The American outlet preferred experience over someone whose young and still learning. That is why Haas confirmed that Hulkenberg will return to Formula 1 in 2023 for a full season. He will now race alongside Kevin Magnussen.

While speaking to media such as RacingNews365, Hulkenberg opened up on the time when he wasn’t racing.

Hulkenberg’s time away from the wheel

The German missed racing, however, he did love his life away from the track. It was a great period to take some time off along with “other benefits.”

Hulkenberg said: “For two years, I wasn’t too stressed about [not driving] and was also enjoying the life out of the driving seat.

“It’s much more relaxed and there’s other benefits, but then it kind of creeps back in, the desire to be back on the grid, to go racing, to kick ass and be in the driving seat.”

Even though he thought about racing, and wanted to get back to it, Hulkenberg wasn’t “stressed” about it. He kept working when needed and let the teams make the final decisions. The 35-year-old knew that he had no control over whether any team will choose to take him on again.

The Haas driver added: “There was no fear [in not knowing whether a seat would materialise]. The teams ultimately make the decisions who they want in their cars, and they usually choose what they think is best for them, who will have the best results to be the most competitive.

“I guess [Haas] looked at my career, my statistics, and at the current COVID races, and in the discussions, I guess I convinced them that I’m the good choice.”

Featured Image Credit: Formula 1

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