APRIL 1, 2022
Vettel will be on back foot in Australia
Nico Hulkenberg insists he's not "desperate" to stay in Formula 1.
Indeed, whilst serving as Aston Martin's reserve, the German appeared to be happy to be enjoying a quieter post-race life with his partner and new baby.
But he was then called up to replace the covid-stricken Sebastian Vettel in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia - and was impressed with his personal performance.
"I think I did pretty well. Difficult at the same time when you haven't raced in a few years," said the 34-year-old.
When asked if he found it as tough as Kevin Magnussen, whose neck muscles gave in at Jeddah, Hulkenberg answered: "Maybe I'm fitter than expected!"
Hulkenberg will hand back the green car to Vettel for the Australian GP, as the quadruple world champion has now recovered from covid.
As for when he gets another chance, he said: "I miss racing more on some days than others. But I'm not desperate for a seat."
Hulkenberg admits that another full-time seat will be "difficult", but he remains open to opportunities - especially now that he's match-fit again.
"Of course if there's a good opportunity, I'm up for it definitely. Formula 1 is a lot of fun. But I also know it's not going to be an easy task," he said.
"I was more or less already mentally done with it, so if it's not to be, it's not to be."
Melbourne will be Vettel's first grand prix of the 2022 season, and he admits his fellow German has work to do to make up for lost time.
"He'll start a little bit on the back foot, but I think he's very skilled, very talented and capable of catching up," Hulkenberg said.
"But for sure he has a bit more work to do than the others. He'll have to dig a little bit deeper to try and make up for it."