Hulkenberg steps in for British GP after Perez tests positive
Racing Point driver Nico Hulkenberg during the first practice session of the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Friday. (AFP)
London - Perez is the first driver to test positive for Covid-19
Nico Hulkenberg made a dramatic return to Formula One on Friday to replace Racing Point's Sergio Perez who tested positive for Covid-19.
The experienced German, who raced for the Silverstone-based Racing Point team in two spells, underwent tests after flying in from Monaco for a seat fitting at the team factory.
He was seen at the circuit on Friday morning and, wearing a team racing suit, ran to the pits ahead of opening free practice to familiarise himself with the controversial 'pink Mercedes' car before taking to the track.
Hulkenberg won the Le Mans-24 Hours race at the first attempt in 2015 and enjoyed a solid 177-race F1 career before he was ousted from Renault by Esteban Ocon this year.
He raced twice for the Silverstone-based Racing Point team in their Force India years and was known in the paddock as one of the finest drivers never to claim a podium finish.
Racing Point have produced great pace in the opening three races with their 2020 cars modelled on the championship winning 2019 Mercedes, but Renault have protested the integrity of the design following the last two races.
Perez, who described his enforced absence from the British race as "one of the saddest days of my career", said he must have caught the virus when he had returned to Mexico for two days to visit his mother following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Perez is the first driver to test positive for Covid-19 and will miss not only this weekend's British event, but also the 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone the following weekend.