Nico Hulkenberg was delighted to claim a “totally unexpected” eighth place finish during his last-minute Formula 1 call-up at the Eifel Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg was called up as a late replacement for the unwell Lance Stroll in Germany and went on to qualify 20th and last for Racing Point having only found out he would be in the car on Saturday morning.

But Hulkenberg made a brilliant start to gain three places on the opening lap in Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix and continued to fight his way through the field to take eighth and the four points that come with it.

“Very happy with everything, to be honest,” Hulkenberg said. “The start wasn’t great, as expected kind of, but then Lap 1, I managed to find two spots I think.

“And then I kind of just really focused on myself, just really trying to find the good rhythm for myself in the car, being on the limit, which kind of happened halfway through the first stint.

“Then I managed to make the tyre last, and I think a long first stint was key then to a successful result. Obviously totally unexpected but totally appreciated and really happy for that.”

Hulkenberg’s P8 finish, plus fourth place for teammate Sergio Perez, has lifted Racing Point up to third place in the constructors’ championship, four points clear of McLaren.

“They told me on the radio that now Racing Point is P3 in the championship, which is obviously great for them,” Hulkenberg said.

“The season’s not over, but obviously for today, that’s great and probably was not too expected given where we started, so I’m happy that I was able to contribute a little bit.”

Asked about his prospects of landing a 2021 drive, Hulkenberg – who was seen chatting to Haas team principal Guenther Steiner on the grid – replied with a smile: “No rush. I’m looking around, you know? Good things take time.”

 

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