Hulkenberg: ‘I can get within three tenths of Verstappen’

Nico Hulkenberg would relish the chance to go up against Max Verstappen, believing he could get with three tenths of the Dutchman “on a very good day”.

For the third time this season, Hulkenberg was called upon by Racing Point to sub for one of its drivers, the German replacing an unwell Lance Stroll at the Eifel GP last weekend.

Hulkenberg’s top-ten performance at the Nürburgring, achieved after running just a handful of laps in qualifying, highlighted once again the unfair plight that sees F1 deprived of the 33-year-old’s full-time presence on the grid.

The hope of an opportunity to join Red Bull for 2021 emerged after Helmet Marko, the energy drink company’s motorsport boss, said Hulkenberg could be an option for 2021, although Red Bull’s preference remains with its incumbent drivers.

But given half a chance, the Hulk would love to measure up against Verstappen. But could he get within three tenths of the Red Bull charger, the benchmark set by Marko?

“Yes, on my very good days,” Hulkenberg told Motorsport-Magazin.

“Max is an absolute killer, and in terms of speed one of the fastest, if not the fastest. So it is already a huge task to have him as a team-mate.

“I would like to find out, measure myself against him. Let’s see if it comes to that.”

Hulkenberg would seize an opportunity to return full-time to the grid in 2021, but only with a team that meets his criteria.

“It’s about how the team develops, what the sporting prospects are and so on,” he said. “I’m hot for Formula 1 and would love to continue there, but not at any price.

“In terms of the car, it [Red Bull] is the best option that is the most attractive. It is the most competitive car.”

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