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Formula 1

Hulkenberg steps in for Stroll at Racing Point for Eifel GP

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Nico Hulkenberg will replace Lance Stroll at Racing Point for the remainder of Formula 1’s Eifel Grand Prix weekend.

Stroll did not take part in final practice after his team reported he was unwell.

Hulkenberg, who was due to be at the Nurburgring this weekend anyway for media commitments, passed a COVID-19 test and was soon in the paddock in team gear and a race suit.

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

“Nico, who previously deputised for Sergio Perez at the Silverstone events, is familiar with the car and team already, and fortunately was in nearby Cologne.”

The FIA said it had noted and approved the request to change drivers.

Hulkenberg already had to stand in at Racing Point earlier this year, when Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the two Silverstone races.

Hulkenberg was unable to start the first race because of a technical problem but starred in qualifying at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix with third on the grid then finished seventh in the race.

His experience made him an easy option for Racing Point.

The alternative was to request permission from Mercedes to use the champion team’s reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Vandoorne was already on site but the Formula E race winner has not driven an F1 car since his final McLaren season in 2018.

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports F1: “Stoffel is our official reserve, but Nico’s driven our car before and that goes a long way.”

Though Hulkenberg had to miss final practice, the lack of Friday action because of fog means he goes into qualifying with a reduced track time disadvantage compared to normal.

He will be tasked with scoring points again to help Racing Point in its fight for third in the constructors’ championship.

Lance Stroll

Stroll’s absence, which the team has not commented on beyond initially stating he did not feel well, is a blow in his own personal championship position aspirations.

The son of team chairman Lawrence is eighth in the points but a strong campaign has been disrupted of late.

He has slipped back from fourth in the championship because of non-finishes in Tuscany (crashed because of a puncture) and Russia (crashed when hit by Charles Leclerc).

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