Nico Hülkenberg has labelled the past 24 hours as "crazy and wild" after being called up at the 11th hour to deputise for Sergio Perez at the British Grand Prix.
Hülkenberg ended his unexpected Formula 1 return seventh quickest after the two practice sessions at Silverstone on Friday, a remarkable achievement considering the manic nature of the German's call up following Perez's positive test for Covid-19.
“The last 24 hours have been a bit special – crazy and wild," explained Hülkenberg. "[At] 4.30 pm yesterday afternoon I got the call, took the plane here.
"Seat fitting until 2am, 8am this morning into the simulator for an hour, a bit of prep work so it was a short night but it was all worthwhile.
"A great effort by the team, I want to thank the night-shift guys who did an amazing job to fit me in the car quite comfortably, and the FIA for turning it around so fast on the super-licence. It's been very special."
Due to the delayed start to the season, the German has only been away from Formula 1 for three races after leaving Renault at the end of last year
Hülkenberg added that his previous experience with the team in 2012 and between 2014-'16 aided his ability to slot into the team quickly.
The 32-year-old said: “Many of the old faces [are still] here so that helps when you go to a place and there are people that you know. It’s definitely a small benefit.
“I tried to take it step by step today, to get up to speed with the car and understand it. It is quite different to last year. It just takes time to inhale everything, understand it, know how you have to drive it and learn.
“Obviously there’s more time for it tonight and to process all the learning, but all I can say is it’s pretty quick around here these days.”
Team-mate Lance Stroll set the fastest time on Friday and was six-tenths of a second faster than Hülkenberg, with the German conceding he failed to get the most out of the soft tyre.
He concluded: "You can see there is big potential in the car, it is definitely fast. I didn’t exploit the soft tyre that well, I think I have a bit more in the bag and I need to use that tyre better.
“That’s what we’ve got to work on through the night and try to get the best possible from this weekend.”
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