Hulkenberg was Mercedes' next choice after Hamilton for 2013

Nico Hulkenberg was Mercedes' second choice to join the team for the 2013 Formula 1 season had it not signed Lewis Hamilton, Ross Brawn has revealed.

Hulkenberg was Mercedes' next choice after Hamilton for 2013

Hulkenberg made his F1 race comeback at Silverstone on Sunday, deputising for Sergio Perez at Racing Point after the Mexican driver tested positive for COVID-19.

After an issue prevented him from taking the start of the British Grand Prix one week earlier, Hulkenberg qualified an impressive third for the 70th Anniversary race, and was on course for a top-five finish before a late pitstop dropped him to seventh.

Hulkenberg's showing won him praise throughout the paddock after a late notice return, having not driven an F1 car since his final appearance for Renault in 2019.

Writing in his post-race column, F1 managing director of motorsports Brawn gave credit to Hulkenberg for his performance, and revealed he considered signing him during his time at Mercedes.

"It was going to be an incredible physical challenge for Nico Hulkenberg," Brawn said.

"I don't know how much he hurt at the end of the race, but it was great performance all weekend by someone who had just been dropped in the deep end.

"I almost signed him years ago, when I was in charge at Mercedes. If Lewis hadn't joined Mercedes when he did, Nico was our next choice.

"I've always respected Nico enormously as a driver. He's a very strong driver who should be in Formula 1."

Read Also:

Mercedes signed Hamilton for the 2013 season in place of Michael Schumacher, starting a partnership that has thus far yielded five world championships for the British driver.

Hulkenberg left Force India to join Sauber for the 2013 campaign, but returned to Force India one year later ahead of a switch to Renault in 2017. The German driver holds the record for the most F1 starts without scoring a podium finish.

Brawn also took the opportunity to heap praise on 70th Anniversary Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen, comparing him to Schumacher, a driver he worked with across all seven of his title wins at Benetton and Ferrari.

"Max was simply sensational at Silverstone," Brawn said. "He reminds me of Michael Schumacher in many ways. When you listen to his radio, he's clearly got spare capacity.

"The limit of the car is not the limit of Max Verstappen. He is able to feel the subtlety of the car and respond perfectly. I remember Max's early days in Formula 1 where his speed was clear – he has now matured in to an exceptional racing driver.

"I loved his radio, particularly when he said he didn't want to 'drive like a grandma' when the team asked him to manage his tyres.

"It shows huge confidence and a relationship in the team, which is very strong."

shares
comments

Related video

Ten things we learned from the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
Previous article

Ten things we learned from the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

Next article

Why inflation left Mercedes poorer at Silverstone

Why inflation left Mercedes poorer at Silverstone
Load comments
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022