Nico Hulkenberg says he had a "realistic opportunity" to join Ferrari for the 2014 Formula 1 seasons, but says he remains unaware how close he came to signing for the team. As Felipe Massa left the Scuderia, the returning Kimi Raikkonen was ultimately chosen ahead of Hulkenberg.
The German came through junior categories with comparisons to Michael Schumacher tied to him as he won title after title, although the same success has eluded him in Formula 1 and he remains the most experienced driver in history to not secure a podium finish, having entered his 165 grand prix in Canada last week.
Driving a Ferrari-powered Sauber, Hulkenberg ended 2013 in fine form, scoring top-six finishes in Belgium, Korea and Brazil, leading to talks with the Scuderia, which he opened up about on F1's 'Beyond the Grid' podcast.
"You never know with these things and the people that make the decisions they don't tell you," Hulkenberg said. "[Maybe] it was like and inch, a bee sting, I really don't know how.
"There were definitely some talks and I think there was a realistic opportunity for quite a decent period of time but then unfortunately in the end it fell through."
Hulkenberg would have partnered Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in what would transpire to be the Spaniard's final year in red after several near-misses in the championship prompted his ill-fated return to McLaren.
Asked if Alonso might have influenced the outcome which saw Raikkonen hired instead, Hulkenberg replied: "I'd like to know that too."
The German confirmed he discussed the matter with Alonso in later times, but remains unsure if he ever got any further clarity.
He said: "With Fernando you can never be totally sure what he says and what he actually means [are the same], you know?
"I think he likes the games sometimes so I'm not really sure if he was supporting it or not to be honest and now anyway it's in the past."
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