Racing Point technical director Andrew Green says that Nico Hulkenberg did a “remarkable job” after stepping into Lance Stroll’s car at Formula 1’s Eifel GP.
Once it became clear that Stroll was unavailable due to health reasons Hulkenberg was drafted in by the team for qualifying, having missed the FP3 session.
He qualified 20th and last, but was only two-tenths off Nicholas Latifi and KimiHu Raikkonen.
In the race the German worked his way up to eighth position, his second score in two starts in 2020.
Hulkenberg finished seventh when standing in for Sergio Perez in the 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone, where he qualified third after running a full race weekend. He failed to start the British GP after a last minute power unit issue.
“Nico did a fantastic job from where he came in, which was effectively Saturday afternoon,” said Green. “I think he deserves a huge amount of credit for what he did.
“I think with the time that he had, and the changes that the car has undergone since he last drove it, I think what he did was a remarkable job.
“We knew he would. That’s why he’s always on the end of the phone for these sorts of situations.
“We know him well, we know what he likes, we know what he doesn’t like. We were instantly setting the car up around how we knew he’d like it.
“But he needs time in the car, he needs time at the track, which is what was missing.”
Green added that, inevitably, Hulkenberg’s efforts in Q1 were compromised by the lack of familiarity with both the track and the car, which has undergone significant development since he last drove it at Silverstone in August.
Hulkenberg could not afford to take any risks as he had to log a competitive lap time in order to be allowed to start.
“Could he have got through to Q2 with more running? Yeah, for sure,” said Green. “More running again could he have got through to Q3?
“But he always had one eye on Sunday as well. He knew that he had to just make sure he got the 107% lap in on the Saturday afternoon to give him that opportunity on Sunday afternoon.
“No point going out and binning it on his first timed lap on Saturday afternoon, then he would have been out of Sunday.
“If he had had the FP2 session on Saturday morning for sure he would have been right up there with Checo [Perez].
“But it was too big an ask, I think, for him to go in on a Saturday afternoon and expect when everyone else is pushing hard to do the lap time progression that he needed to do.
“Another two more laps and he would have got out of Q1. Another four more laps and he might have got into Q3.
“But I think you have to give him a huge amount of credit to be able to do the lap time he did in the amount of laps that he had available to him.”