Hulkenberg admits F1 'chapter' will be 'closed' without 2022 seat

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Nico Hulkenberg accepts the Formula 1 "chapter" of his career will be over without a return in 2022.

The German lost his full-time drive after leaving Renault at the end of 2019 but would complete three races for Racing Point during last season.

His solid performances earned Hulkenberg the reserve driver role again at the rebranded Aston Martin squad for this year.

But in terms of his F1 ambitions going forward, the 33-year-old knows he has very little on the table.

"I think I know how it will go," Hulkenberg told Bild. "Everyone can calculate that for themselves and I have no illusions.

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"The doors of the top teams are closed for me. I have to be that realistic. If it doesn’t happen now, the Formula 1 chapter will be closed for me."

One option that may be open though is a return to his first team at Williams, who may need to replace a Mercedes-bound George Russell.

“I think at the moment we do not exclude any driver who would be available for next year. Nico is available for next year,” Williams CEO Jost Capito told The Race.

“So we’ve got quite a long list.”

A final decision on Russell's future is expected in the coming weeks but even if he does leave, names like Valtteri Bottas and Nyck de Vries might be higher up on the list of replacements.

If it is that Hulkenberg has competed in his last F1 Grand Prix, the German will have done 179 races with the dubious honour of being the most experienced driver never to score a podium finish.

But while his achievements don't match the potential he showed as a youngster back in 2010, Nico is comfortable with how his time in F1 turned out.

"I see it as a new opportunity," he said of life after F1. "I’ve had enough time now to think about everything.

"Of course, I made a few mistakes, maybe my career would have turned out differently. But I don’t regret anything."