Former Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg has said that seeing Red Bull’s progress this season makes him “want to cry”, given the fact that he was heavily linked with the team last season.
WIth the chances of Alex Albon staying at Red Bull becoming thinner and thinner, Hulkenberg was believed to be in the running for a seat at Red Bull for this season.
Ultimately, however, Sergio Perez was the man bestowed with the opportunity.
Red Bull has made such a big stride forward this year that it is currently a faster and more reliable car than Mercedes. This is on the back of seven years of domination for the Silver Arrows.
It has made Hulkenberg rue what might have been, but the German driver claimed that he tries not to give it too much thought. He said that he was aware his chances of bagging a seat at the Austrian outfit ended the day Perez won the penultimate race of 2020.
“I’d better not watch Red Bull because then I will cry”, he told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport.
“I don’t want to think about it. I’ve been in talks with the team throughout the second half of last year.
“The last few races, that period when Perez started to do really well, that victory in Bahrain, then it was over.”
Hulkenberg will play the role of a reserve driver for both Mercedes and Aston Martin this year. Given the unpredictability of the pandemic, there is a realistic chance that he will be called upon by one of the outfits.
Hulkenberg believes he has a better chance at Aston Martin, given the fact that Mercedes has a list of Formula E drivers on standby.
“I’m more of the test driver for Aston Martin. Mercedes is only a small job, for a few races,” he added.
“Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries also drive in Formula E and the WEC, so they are not available a few times a year. For those races, I’m the man if something happens.”
Meanwhile, fellow German Sebastian Vettel has struggled to make much of a mark this season. While there was initial excitement following news that he would be linking up with Aston Martin, he has endured a rough start at his new team.
Pre-season testing was plagued with reliability issues and Vettel has almost found a similar situation to his time at Ferrari. However, Aston Martin has been far more supportive and is reportedly keen on offering him time to acclimatise to its car.
His poor run of form has led many to claim that he should ponder retirement, or at least take some time off the sport. However, Hulkenberg believes Vettel will eventually come good.
It is worth noting that Hulkenberg would be favourite to replace Vettel if Aston Martin does decide to terminate the four-time world champion’s contract.
“He will finish the season there, I think, but there is still something to come,” Hulkenberg said.
“It takes a while, he doesn’t feel completely comfortable yet. You can see that on the stopwatch.
“But yes, it’s not my decision.”
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