Nico Hulkenberg is no longer in Formula One, and will hold the record for the most race starts without a podium. After the Renault team let him go, the German driver opened up on his F1 exit. The 32-year old revealed that he was “close” to penning a deal with a top team in 2013.
Poor old Hulkenberg has been extremely unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved podium. However, he never displayed any standout performances. This was in spite of being considered a highly-regarded driver.
When he spoke to T-Online in an interview, the Hulk spoke about his missed opportunities. He revealed, “In 2013 I was close to making the breakthrough and signing for a top team, but unfortunately that didn’t work out.”
2013 was quite a busy year in terms of the driver market. Apparently, several high-profile seats were ripe for the picking, namely Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.
Mark Webber left the sport, with Daniel Ricciardo taking his Red Bull seat. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez left McLaren and rookie driver Kevin Magnussen took his place. Scuderia Ferrari was an option when Felipe Massa joined Williams. However, the Maranello outfit chose to go for 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen instead.
According to Nico Hulkenberg, some excellent performances put him in the running for a competitive drive. A notable example is the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. This race saw him on pole position and he led the race for a while before finishing fifth. Sadly, he was overlooked in favour of younger talents.
Despite the snub, Nico Hulkenberg does not blame any teams for turning a blind eye. He knew that they all acknowledged him during his stint at Williams, Force India, Sauber and Renault.
He concluded, “I still delivered, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived ten years in Formula One. Because they don’t hire you there for fun.”