August 1, 2020 | News | No Comments
Racing Point super-sub Nico Hulkenberg says it has been a “crazy and wild” last 24 hours that have led to his shock return to the cockpit in Formula 1.
The German driver who last raced in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season is substituting at Silverstone for Racing Point’s Sergio Perez who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday.
Hulkenberg acquitted himself remarkably well in Friday’s two practice session, concluding his day P7 in the standings, a little over 0.6s adrift from his teammate and pace-setter Lance Stroll.
“The last 24 hours have been a bit special, crazy and wild,” Hulkenberg acknowledged.
“4.30pm yesterday afternoon I got the call and took the plane here, seat fitted until 2am and got into the simulator at 8am this morning for an hour to do some track work. Bit of prep work, so it was a short night but all worthwhile.
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“A great effort by the team, I want to thank all the night shift guys for doing an amazing job to get me into the car quite comfortably.
“Also want to thank the FIA for turning it around so fast on the super licence. It’s been very special.
“I think there I got to grip pretty quickly with things. It’s just a little bit getting used to the steering wheel and some of the functions. We didn’t have heaps of time because I had to be tested as well.”
In addition to getting acquainted with a new car and the team’s procedures, the Hulk also dealt with the blistering hot conditions that prevailed at Silverstone on Friday and which were likely the cause of many of the off-track excursions experienced by the drivers during the day.
“I’ve really been thrown into the cold water here,” he said. “I think my body will feel that tomorrow and the day after. It’s obviously a huge challenge but I’m not shy of that one.
“The G-Forces are tough to train for because it’s so unique and so special. Even though I am in decent shape, this kind of G-Force around here, one of the fastest high-speed tracks, in 35 degrees…
“I also chose the hottest day in the UK so far, so I got the best of everything.”
And how did Hulkenberg assess his RP20 “pink Mercedes” whose qualities were showcased by Stroll on Friday?
“You can see there’s huge potential, the car is massively fast,” he noted.
“I didn’t exploit the Soft tyre as well, so I think there’s a bit more in the bag and I need to use that tyre better.
“That’s what we are going to work on through the night to try and get the best possible from the weekend.
“I tried to get up to speed with the car today, step-by-step, to understand it. It is quite different to last year and it just takes time to inhale everything and understand how to drive it.
“It’s a process of learning.”
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