NURBURGRING: Nico Hulkenberg had only four hours’ notice that his services were required to replace the unwell Lance Stroll for Racing Point in qualifying at the Eifel Grand Prix on Saturday.
The German ‘super-sub’, who had stepped in at a day’s notice to take Sergio Perez’s seat at Silverstone in July, was enjoying coffee with a friend when a phone call from Racing Point team chief Otmar Szafnauer alerted him.
“It was even crazier and wilder than last time,” Hulkenberg said.
“I was in Cologne, about an hour away and I was due here this afternoon anyway to do some TV stuff with RTL.
“I sat with a friend at 11am for a coffee when I saw that Otmar was ringing me. He said ‘Hulkenberg hurry, we need you here’.
“I stepped in the car, came here and the rest is history.”
The modest Hulkenberg made light of his autobahn dash in a high-speed Porsche, that he had recently bought from 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, to reach the Nurburgring ahead of qualifying that afternoon.
After arrival and a rapid test for Covid-19, he was in Stroll’s car in which he managed only four laps in Q1 before early elimination.
He was half a second away from reaching Q2, but not disappointed in the difficult circumstances.
“The car feels quite different to Silverstone and it’s a very different circuit too. The car has moved on – there’s a couple of technical bits that are very different and give the driver different sensations.
“So, I had to adjust around that a bit and find my feet again and, obviously, in four laps it’s not that easy. But, all in all, even if I am last, I am quite pleased with the laps.”
The team said that Stroll’s illness was not anything like Covid-19.