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Nico Hülkenberg

Formula 1 driver

Nico Hülkenberg
Credit: James Moy
Vital statistics for Nico Hülkenberg
NationalityDEU
BirthplaceEmmerich am Rhein, Germany
Born19 August 1987
Age29
F1 debutBahrain Grand Prix, 2010
Driver number27
Current teamRenault Sport F1 Team
Recent fastest laps
2016Chinese Grand Prix
2012Singapore Grand Prix

Hülkenberg made his F1 debut with Williams, before moving to Force India. After being linked to top teams, Nico ended up enduring a brief stint at Sauber in search of a step up in performance, before returning to Force India for 2014. He remained with the Silverstone squad until the end of 2016, when he announced a move to the Renault works team for 2017 and beyond.

F1 biography

Nico Hülkenberg started out karting in Germany, and moved up to single seaters in 2005. His first stint was in the Formula BMW category, before he moved on to drive for the German A1 Grand Prix team for the 2006/7 season. He was on the pace immediately and won nine races in his first year, helping Germany take home the championship for that season.

Hülkenberg drove in German Formula Three before switching to the F3 Euro Series, and then on to GP2 where he drove for the ART Grand Prix team. Nico secured the title in 2009 which then paved the way for his promotion to Formula One. Having been managed by Willi Weber, who was also Michael Schumacher’s manager, the links to F1 saw Hülkenberg granted a test drive in a Williams in 2007. Having impressed the team, he was signed as a test driver for the following season, before being confirmed as a race driver for 2010.

He made his F1 debut that year with the Williams team, putting in a reasonably impressive performance up until Brazil. At the penultimate race of 2010, Hülkenberg put the Williams on pole position, where it had no right to be. He couldn’t defend during the race but still finished in eighth place. Despite the good performance out ont rack, Hülkenberg moved to Force India for a year as a test driver. He was promoted to the race seat for the 2012 season, alongside teammate Paul di Resta.

In search of a step forward up the grid, Hülkenberg signed to Sauber for the 2013 season, but it was a mistimed move and his results remained steadfastly midfield. The paddock and team bosses seemed aware that he could get more out of the car and when driver movements started to be discussed towards the end of the year, his name was in the frame for several of the top teams. Unfortunately, a deal could not be struck and Hülkenberg returned to Force India for the 2014 season – the German admitting he was disappointed but that he still had time to make his mark in F1.

He had a solid, but unremarkable, season in 2014, finishing in the points for all bar four of the races, and only retiring on two occasions. He finished ninth in the championship standings, which left him out of the running for the top seats again, and he re-signed with Force India for 2015 and 2016. Hülkenberg participated in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning for the Porsche team and becoming the first active F1 driver to take victory there in over twenty years.

Towards the end of 2016, Nico confirmed he would be joining the works team of Renault for the following season, departing from Force India. Although not the top team he has dreamed of, Hülkenberg remained optimistic that being with a factory team would give him a solid base to work from to build a fast car and start getting results.

Learn more about Nico Hülkenberg with the Pocket F1 Handbook.