Nico Hulkenberg reflects on the tough three years away from the sport

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain
Nico Hulkenberg spent 3 years away from full time racing

Nico Hulkenberg admits it was tough looking at the sport from the sidelines after being a part of it for so long. The German driver lost his seat at Renault to Esteban Ocon for the 2020 F1 season. Instead of opting to go to some other team (there was an offer on the table from Haas), Nico Hulkenberg decided to take a step back from racing.

In the meantime, the German has made a few very impressive super sub appearances. Out of the three races he took part in, Nico Hulkenberg scored points in two of them and was able to qualify in the top three in one of them. The German also impressed in his two appearances with Aston Martin in 2022 as a substitute for Sebastian Vettel.

Looking back, Nico Hulkenberg admitted that he started missing the sport in 2021 as he said:

“Yeah, there were certainly… that feeling is a bit in waves; some weeks it was more, some weeks it was less. Right at the beginning, in 2020, it was kind of… I wanted some time away, I needed some time away, so at that point I was pretty relaxed. Then suddenly, in 2021, there were weeks when it was harder to stand on the sidelines and watch drivers go out of the garage."

He added:

“In 2022, so let’s say more or less 12 months ago, 10 months ago, that feeling of wanting to be in the driving seat again came back very strong. Then I had a clear intention, a clear plan that I wanted to pursue the opportunity of having a race seat again. Lot of gold there!”
Decent 1st quali of the year finishing P10 👊🏼 Heads down now, gonna be a tough and exciting battle tmrw! #BahrainGP #F1

Nico Hulkenberg shares his pre-season targets

When questioned about what he would want to achieve this season, the Haas driver said that he wanted to look back and say that he maximized the opportunities put in front of him. He said,

“At the end of this year, I want to be able to look back and say, ‘You know what, I drove a strong season, I’ve mamaximizedhat we have, I didn’t leave much on the table – that was pretty good’. And hopefully there is a
Challenging Race yesterday! After small contact on lap 1 which damaged the car we lost a lot of performance and that compromised our race. BUT.. 1st Race distance in the bag and lots to learn from! We go again next week 👊🏼 Ride on! #BahrainGP

Hulkenberg had an impressive start to the season with a top-10 qualifying position (beating his teammate Kevin Magnussen). He will be looking to score a few points for Haas next time around at Jeddah, a track that does not suffer from tire degradation like Bahrain.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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