Formula One: Nico Hulkenberg steps in for sick Lance Stroll ahead of Eifel Grand Prix qualifying

Root of Stroll’s sickness has not been confirmed as coronavirus

Nico Hulkenberg is stepping in for the unwell Lance Stroll
Nico Hulkenberg is stepping in for the unwell Lance Stroll

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg was drafted in as a late replacement for Lance Stroll at the Eifel Grand Prix on Saturday after the Canadian felt unwell and missed final practice at the Nurburgring.

The 33-year-old German has become something of a Formula One super-sub this season, standing in twice for Stroll's team mate Sergio Perez in August after the Mexican tested positive for Covid-19.

Summoned at short notice for the first of those occasions at Silverstone, Hulkenberg had to borrow a set of Stroll's overalls.

This time the veteran of 178 starts will be taking the team owner's son's car as well.

"Back to #hulkenback," he posted on Twitter over a photograph of his paddock pass after passing a Covid-19 test on arrival.

"Lance did not feel 100 percent this morning and the team took the decision not to run him for the rest of the event," Racing Point said in a statement.

"Nico... is familiar with the car and team already, and fortunately was in nearby Cologne."

Despite his experience and familiarity with the team and car, the Nurburgring will be a stiff challenge for Hulkenberg whose first actions will be to go straight into qualifying without any practice.

The German, who lost his place at Renault at the end of last season and raced previously for Racing Point's predecessors Force India, at least knows the circuit well and is no stranger to being thrown in at the deep end.

Hulkenberg qualified as the best of the rest behind Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and six times world champion Lewis Hamilton when he stood in for Perez at Silverstone's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

The Le Mans 24 Hours winner is famous in Formula One for never having reached the podium in a career that started at Williams in 2010.

Stroll's absence means also that Racing Point's lineup for Sunday's race consists of two drivers without seats for next season.

Perez is being replaced by four times world champion Sebastian Vettel at the end of the year. The Mexican and Hulkenberg were previously team mates at Force India.

Reuters

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