Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg was seen making his way into the Red Bull hospitality area during the Belgian Grand Prix to have a conversation with Helmut Marko.
This came just a couple of days after Marko praised the driving acumen of the German, claiming that his qualifying pace was exceptional.
Hulkenberg is a fan-favourite in F1 and although he hasn’t had the opportunity to race for a frontrunner in the sport, he is widely regarded as a solid driver.
The German made his comeback at Haas and has impressed a number of pundits with his qualifying pace, something that has also been picked up by the Red Bull hierarchy.
There is plenty of speculation surrounding the future of Red Bull racer Sergio Perez, who has been inconsistent this season and also has an uncomfortable relationship with the team’s primary driver Max Verstappen.
Marko was asked about who the perfect teammate to Verstappen could be and claimed that Perez’ race performance clubbed with Hulkenberg’s qualifying pace would lead to a deadly combination.
“That’s the right thought,” Marko said.
“The two would be the perfect qualifying and race combination.”
Marko said these words ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, which made Hulkenberg’s trip into the Red Bull hospitality area even more intriguing.
It is worth noting that Perez’ seat is far from secure, with Daniel Ricciardo also rumoured to be in the running to replace the Mexican.
Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham was first to comment on Hulkenberg’s surprise visit.
“It interests me that Nico Hulkenberg just walked past us to go into Red Bull,” said Pinkham. “What’s going on there?”
Reporter Erik van Haren suggested that Hulkenberg and Verstappen have a very close relationship and the duo may well have travelled together to Spa-Francorchamps for the race.
“I think he has a very good connection with the Verstappen camp, and I think Max is here with his private jet and Nico lives in Monaco, maybe that’s the reason he is here,” Van Haren said.
“Because he has his bag already with him and he has changed his clothes, so I think that’s the reason but we can check that.
“But Nico and Max they get well along together, I think if they will not be teammates in Formula 1, you don’t have to be surprised if maybe in a few years’ time they are going to 24 hours of Le Mans together.”