Nico Hulkenberg revealed earlier in the week that he had been approached to take over Kimi Raikkonen's seat at Lotus F1 for the final two races of the season, but that he had turned it down.

"We had an offer from Lotus and we talked about it," the 26-year-old's manager Werner Heinz had told German newspaper Bild. "We decided that Nico would drive the last two races with Sauber."

And after arriving at the Circuit of the Americas for this weekend's United States Grand Prix, Hulkenberg admitted that the idea of a two-race stint at Lotus alongside current man-in-form Romain Grosjean was just too risky for him to go for.

"It sounds attractive from the outside; on the other hand, it was for the last two races which brings with it some risks. And then after that you also have to see the bigger picture in terms of beyond two races, what can happen there," Hulkenberg said on Thursday.

The problem was that stepping into an entirely unfamiliar car with a couple of days notice and no testing was fraught with the risk of falling flat on his face, especially when compared against an experienced driver in the sister car.

"If I'd stepped in there, I don't know - I don't know whether people would have expected me to beat Romain right away. He seems to be very comfortable in the car now and in the team. He's delivering very good results now."

Hulkenberg added that if the offer to see out the season with Lotus has come with a 2014 deal attached then it would have been a different story. "It would have been a big change in the plan for sure," he said.

Hulkenberg has been in the frame for the Lotus seat next season with his biggest competition seeming to come from Pastor Maldonado, who this week confirmed that he would split with Williams F1 at the end of the current season. Hulkenberg had thought to be the preferred candidate for the seat providing the team secures its long-term funding deal from investment company Quantum Motorsports, but his rejection of the approach to stand in for Raikkonen might top the decision back toward the Venezuelan.

"It's still pending," was all Hulkenberg would say. "It's pretty similar to the last couple of weeks to be honest," he added, indicating there had been little movement on the matter in any direction.

"It is a bit tricky and a patience game. A bit of a mind game, to be delivering and not knowing about the future," he explained. "I'd like to have known weeks or two months ago what I'm doing but it is what it is, so I have to cope with it and deal with it ... You're trying to do the best possible deal and position yourself in the best possible way."

The situation has only been made even more confusing by the news this week that Sergio Perez is also seeking a new race seat for 2014 after being let go by McLaren in favour of 21-year-old rookie Kevin Magnussen.

"Pastor was there on the market all the time and now Sergio's come on as well, so there's one spot less for someone in the end," agreed Hulkenberg.

Maldonado meanwhile was sounding upbeat and positive about his 2014 prospects after finally confirming his long-expected departure from Williams. "I have a couple of options. We are still working on it and I really hope to have some clear answers soon," he said.

Maldonado certainly has no regrets about his impending exit from Williams.
"I feel quite good, I am leaving at an important time for my career," he said. "I think I delivered more to the team than they for me," he added.

"We found a victory, we found very good results last year," he added. "But this is not everything. I'm waiting for something more, I'm expecting something more from F1."



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