Confirmed: Nico Hülkenberg replaces Sergio Perez for the British GP

F1

Nico Hülkenberg will compete for Racing Point at this weekend's British Grand Prix, replacing Sergio Perez after the Mexican tested positive for coronavirus

Nico Hulkenberg during the 2019 F1 season

Florent Gooden / DPPI

Nico Hülkenberg will race in this weekend’s British Grand Prix for Racing Point, taking the place of Sergio Perez who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The German driver, who was dropped by Renault at the end of last season, now finds himself in a car that, at the last race, was the second-fastest on the grid.

It will be his third stint with the team, which he first joined in 2011, when it was known as Force India.

“I was on my way to the Nürburgring for another racing project when the call from Otmar [Szafnauer, Racing Point team principal] came,” said Hülkenberg. That was less than 24 hours ago, so it feels a bit surreal for me right now, but I like a good challenge and this is certainly one.

“It’s obviously a difficult situation for Racing Point and Checo. He’s a buddy of mine, an old team-mate and I wish him a speedy recovery. I’ll step in and try do the best I can for the team.”

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Racing Point said that Hülkenberg’s experience and strong track record made him “the ideal driver” to pick. The team has not said whether he will also race in the second Silverstone grand prix, the following weekend, when Perez is likely to remain quarantined.

“Having to find a replacement for Sergio at short notice is no easy task, but in Nico we’ve got a fantastic supersub who the team knows very well,” said  Szafnauer. “He’s certainly being thrown in at the deep end, but he’s a fast learner and I’m sure he will get up to speed quickly.”

Hülkenberg joined Sauber in 2013, but returned in 2014 for three years, alongside Perez, who he typically outqualified, but fared slightly less well in terms of championship points.

During his time at the team, he matched his career-best fourth-place finish but failed to make it into the top three. This continued when he moved to Renault, into a record-breaking run: no driver has made more F1 starts without a podium finish.

Silverstone, where the Mercedes-inspired Racing Points are expected to perform well, may offer his best chance yet of bringing the run to an end.