Verstappen adds to colleague’s praise for Hulkenberg

Max Verstappen echoed Daniel Ricciardo’s words of praise for F1 returnee Nico Hulkenberg who qualified a remarkable third for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg was drafted in at the last hour by Racing Point to replace incumbent Sergio Perez who tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

The German driver’s British Grand prix was ruined even before it got underway when a mechanical issue prevented the Hulk from taking part in his first F& race since Abu Dhabi last year.

But the super-sub’s performance in qualifying on Saturday proved that Hulkenberg’s talent warrants a full-time return to the grid.

    Ricciardo ‘stoked’ by P5, but ‘hats off to the Hulk’

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified fifth, was quick to take his hat off to his rival’s impressive achievement.

“To be sitting on the couch for so long, it’s not easy to do that even though he’s a veteran,” said the Aussie. “I don’t care what anyone says.”

And Verstappen added to his former Red Bull teammate’s praise.

“Nico did an amazing job in qualifying,” said the Dutchman who concluded qualifying hot on Hulkenberg’s heels.

“They did a very good job over the winter, but I really hope that this will help Nico find a seat for next year, because he definitely deserves to be in F1.

“There are definitely a few drivers who are not as good as him at the moment, and they are in F1. It’s a hopefully a great boost for him I mean.

“Firstly today I was not very happy with how qualifying worked out for us. But I was very happy for Nico being third.”

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer alluded to Perez’s likely return to duty next week in Barcelona. But the American said he was happy to provide Hulkenberg with an opportunity to boost his F1 prospects for 2021.

“I think we did help him by substituting Checo with Nico,” Szafnauer said.

“That in itself gave him an audience so to speak to see what he could do when he’s been out of the car for as long as he has.

“That’s a help we gave him. The rest is up to him now. I think he’s done himself no harm, getting up to speed like he has in the last two races.”

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