Max Verstappen hopes Nico Hulkenberg’s starring performance in qualifying for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix will “give him a seat for next year”.

In just his second qualifying session at Silverstone since being called up to replace Racing Point regular Sergio Perez, who has tested positive for COVID-19, Hulkenberg impressed as he outqualified Max Verstappen’s Red Bull to claim third on the grid.

Hulkenberg was only slower than the dominant Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and championship leader Lewis Hamilton, while he was four-tenths faster than Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll.

The 32-year-old German admitted he was surprised by his own performance and “didn't expect” to qualify third, despite the well-documented potential of his RP20.

Speaking about Hulkenberg’s display, Verstappen said: “I'm very happy for Nico. He should have been already on the grid normally and I hope that this will give him a seat for next year.”

It marked Hulkenberg’s best qualifying result since he qualified inside the front two rows of the grid at the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix when he drove for the then-Force India squad.

Six-times world champion Hamilton added: “He did a great job today and I hope he does a good job tomorrow. It's good to see him back.”

Daniel Ricciardo, who is targeting Hulkenberg in Sunday’s race after qualifying two positions behind his former Renault teammate in fifth, was also impressed by the German’s performance.

“The Hulk's come in - I think he's adjusted his neck this week! - and he's free and ready to go! Honestly, hats off to him. We all know that car's working, but I don't just want to say it's the car.

"He has obviously done a really good job and to be sitting on the couch for so long, it's not easy. Even though he's a veteran, it's not easy to do that - I don't care what anyone says - so hats off to him, he's done a really good job."



Loading Comments...