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.”

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