Hulkenberg aims to 'keep the car where it deserves to be' as peers hail P3 quali result

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Nico Hulkenberg will aim to keep his Racing Point "where it deserves to be" after securing an impressive third on the grid for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Given a second opportunity to race this weekend, after Sergio Perez again tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, the German appeared as sharp as ever as he finished behind the two Mercedes' in qualifying.

It's a result that continues what has been a rollercoaster experience for Hulkenberg since getting the call last week from the Silverstone-based team, and that was also encapsulated in a pretty bumpy ride on Saturday too.

"A crazy couple of last week, last seven, eight days or whatever it is now," he said. "Last week came the big high to come back, and then the low on Sunday, so [it's been] very extreme.

"This weekend I felt much better obviously, in the car, much more prepared but quali was still tricky.

"In Q2, I made life hard for myself a bit, and I was a bit scared that I damaged the car. Q3 was just head down, full beans, whatever I had."

Also Read:

While admitting "surprise" at finishing third, Hulkenberg wasn't getting carried away.

"It's only Saturday, it's always Sunday that obviously matters most," he added. "It's definitely one of the nice little highlights, but it's no time to cheer yet because tomorrow is the big day."

Of course, starting in the top three does raise the tantalising thought of Hulkenberg finally claiming the first F1 podium that has alluded him throughout his career.

That will be no easy task, however, particularly with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen right behind him, and uncertainty over how he'll cope with a full race distance physically.

"That's definitely going to hurt some more, not having last week's experience, and not having gone through the motions there with the start and everything, because it's still new with this car," he conceded.

"But you know we'll do what we can. I'll try to learn fast and to keep the car where it deserves to be!"

His result in qualifying has certainly not gone unrecognised from his peers, with Verstappen keen to see his performance rewarded with a 2021 seat.

GP2005 140226 2ST4790 medium

“They [Racing Point] have been competitive the whole weekend already, and I’m very happy for Nico,” he commented.

“He should have already been on the grid, and of course I hope that this performance will give him a seat for next year.”

Daniel Ricciardo, who'll start two places behind in fifth, added: "The Hulk's come in - I think he's adjusted his neck this week and he's free and ready to go!

"Honestly, hats off to him. We all know that car's working, but I don't just want to say it's the car.

"He has obviously done a really good job and to be sitting on the couch for so long, it's not easy.

"Even though he's a veteran, it's not easy to do that - I don't care what anyone says - so hats off to him, he's done a really good job."