Aston Martin reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg is proud of the display he has put in during Sebastian Vettel’s absence and believes he has done himself justice in his two displays.
Sebastian Vettel was expected to line up for Aston Martin alongside Lance Stroll this season, but a positive COVID-19 test meant the German had to spend the first two rounds on the sidelines.
Hulkenberg’s services were called upon earlier than he expected and although he was not able to get amongst the points, he put in two solid performances in a problematic AMR22.
Hulkenberg was asked whether he believes he can perform the role of a full-time driver if the opportunity arises.
“Yes, of course, if there is a good opportunity, definitely I’m up for it [a full-time return to F1],” Hulkenberg said.
“Now having been away and having done Bahrain, the rush of qualifying, the excitement of the race, the battling on Lap 1, there is a lot of great things that happen in Formula 1, and it’s a lot of fun.
“So, if the right opportunity is there, of course, but that’s not going to be an easy, easy task. I think everyone’s learning curve is very steep with these new cars. There’s lots to learn, you know, and we’ll continue for the months to come.”
Hulkenberg proud of his performance
Hulkenberg was pleased with how he was able to acclimatise in a car he had never driven before and that too at such short notice.
“It was a demanding race, but I am happy with my performance considering my limited experience with the car,” he said.
“We put together a clean race, but unfortunately the events and opportunities did not really go our way.
“We gave it everything out there, but points were out of reach.
“I am happy to have helped the team by standing in again and I will remain on standby should I be needed again.”
Hulkenberg predicts early struggle for Vettel
Although Vettel’s return to Aston Martin at the Australian Grand Prix has been confirmed, Hulkenberg expects Vettel to struggle to come up to pace.
“Obviously he’s lacking those two races so he will start a little bit on the back foot. But I think you know, he’s very skilled, very talented, I think he’s capable of catching up,” Hulkenberg said.
“But for sure he has a bit more work to do and he needs to dig a little bit deeper to try and make up for it.”
Aston Martin is yet to record any points in the opening two races and it will be interesting to see if Vettel’s return coincides with better returns in the points tally.