Hulkenberg replaces Vettel for Bahrain F1 GP after positive COVID-19 test

Nico Hulkenberg will make his Formula 1 return at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel tested positive for COVID-19.
Hulkenberg replaces Vettel for Bahrain F1 GP after positive COVID-19 test

On Thursday morning, Aston Martin announced that the four-time champion will be forced to miss the season-opener at Sakhir. 

It will be the third time Hulkenberg has deputised for the Silverstone-based outfit since the outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020.

The German replaced Sergio Perez at Racing Point for the British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix, and then substituted for Lance Stroll later that year at the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany.

Hulkenberg has a wealth of experience in F1, making his debut in 2010 for Williams before spells with Force India, Sauber and Renault.

While a podium finish has alluded him, Hulkenberg has been a consistent midfield performer over the years and has been Aston Martin's (previously Racing Point) reserve driver since 2020.

In a short statement, Aston Martin confirmed Hulkenberg will be in the car from the first Friday practice session.

“Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not therefore be taking part in the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix,” the statement read.

“Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team reserve driver Nico Hülkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards.”

Aston Martin isn't the only F1 team that has been impacted by COVID-19 in recent weeks.

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo was forced to miss all three days of running in the second Bahrain test after testing positive for coronavirus. 

The Australian is expected to make his return to the F1 paddock later today ahead of the start of the season this weekend.

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