Daniel Ricciardo has shared a brilliant moment with Nico Hulkenberg after his former teammate stunned in qualifying for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Hulkenberg surprised everyone on Saturday when he qualified third for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in just his second race since making a dramatic return to Formula One.
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Just nine days after being called in to replace Covid-19 victim Sergio Perez in the Racing Point team, at the wheel of a controversial 'pink Mercedes' car, the German driver was best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes team.
It was his best qualifying result since the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix, when he lined up second in a Force India car alongside Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position just ahead of championship leader and teammate Hamilton to secure Mercedes' 67th front row lockout.
Max Verstappen and Ricciardo, who qualified fourth and fifth behind Hulkenberg, shared a brilliant moment with the German after qualifying.
Verstappen and Ricciardo both went to Hulkenberg after the qualifying session to congratulate him, with Ricciardo sharing a fist-bump and some nice words with his former Renault teammate.
Awesome stuff- so happy for the Hulk— Dean Ruffilli (@DeanRuffilli) August 8, 2020
Hulkenberg P3 in only his second weekend back. Showing again why he's a quality driver. Also fair play to Ricciardo for getting 5th. Renault are slowing edging towards the front again (I hope)— Joe Bramble (@JoeBramble86) August 8, 2020
Nico Hulkenberg rapt with fast qualifying
“Quali was good,” said Hulkenberg, who said he had received his call-up while eating a pastry in a Cologne café last week.
The following day, he was at Silverstone and preparing to race.
Hulkenberg’s starting position in a competitive, if controversial car, will give him a chance to end one of the most unwanted records in the sport – as he bids to claim the first podium finish of his career.
He has started 177 races without a top-three finish, the most by any driver in F1 history.
But, he said, he is less interested in the statistics than overcoming the physical challenge of completing a race after so long since he was replaced at Renault at the end of last year.
“It's very challenging and difficult circumstances,” he said.
“But I know I have a fast car beneath me so it's just trying to make sure to do everything right.
“The start and lap one -- it's going to be new for me, but I'll just try to get it right with all the experience that I have. And then we'll race.
“I'm a couple of races behind the other guys, but I still remember what it feels like. I'll just try not to think too much, keep my head down and have a good race tomorrow.”
Most of his rivals were quick to praise his impact so soon after returning from a period out of the cockpit.
“First of all, I am happy for Hulkenberg,” said Red Bull's Verstappen.
“He should have been on the grid full-time this year and I hope he can find a seat in F1 next year.”
Ricciardo added: “The Hulk has come in and I think he has adjusted his neck and is free and ready to go.
“Hats off to him. We all know the car is working, but it's not down to the car only.”