Hulkenberg was Mercedes' 2nd choice after Hamilton to replace Schumacher

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Nico Hulkenberg was Ross Brawn's second choice, behind Lewis Hamilton, to replace Michael Schumacher at the end of 2012, he has revealed.

After being replaced by Esteban Ocon at Renault for 2020, the German was back on the grid for the doubleheader at Silverstone, replacing Sergio Perez at Racing Point after the Mexican tested positive for Covid-19.

Though he didn't start the first Grand Prix in the UK due to an engine issue, Hulkenberg showed off the talent we've always known he has by qualifying third for last Sunday's race, earning him plaudits from most on the grid.

Unfortunately, dreams of that elusive first Formula 1 podium quickly dissipated and he would finish seventh after a late pitstop.

But that didn't take away from the huge achievement of coming in at the last minute and immediately being competitive.

"It was going to be an incredible physical challenge for Nico and I don't know how much he hurt at the end of the race," Brawn said in his post-70th Anniversary GP column.

"But it was great performance all weekend by someone who had just been dropped in the deep end."

It was then the current F1 motorsport boss and former Mercedes team boss made the big revelation.

"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," he said.

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

Hulkenberg has said he is in casual talks about a full-time comeback in 2021.

But for a driver who is sadly known for what he didn't achieve in F1, it is a remarkable thought he could be somewhere near where Hamilton is now had the Briton stayed at McLaren.