Nico Hulkenberg on 200 F1 races with no podium: That’s the way it is

The 36-year-old reaches 200 F1 starts at the Mexico City GP, but is yet to score his maiden podium in the sport.

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As he reaches a career milestone of 200 starts in Formula 1 at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg is yet to record his first career podium; something he attributes to rare opportunities and misfortune.

Hulkenberg’s best chance to be a part of the podium ceremony was perhaps at the 2012 Brazilian GP when he qualified his Force India in seventh around Interlagos and went on to lead 29 laps of the rain-afflicted race.

However, the shot slipped away from him after a momentary loss of car control saw him collide with Lewis Hamilton before he finished 5th.

Since then, chances have been sparse, and despite his teammates managing to record podiums during their time together, it has just never happened for the now-36-year-old German.

It’s perhaps undeserving of his talent, with the 2009 GP2 champion being regarded as one of the better drivers on the grid, but it isn’t something he’s hung up about.

“I’ve had a couple of opportunities where a podium would have been possible in a non-top car,” Hulkenberg said to the media. “But things happened that kind of stopped and prevented that.

“If you’re not in top cars then these opportunities don’t come around that often, so I guess I just missed out there. That’s the way it is.”

Another one that possibly got away from him was the 2019 German GP, at his home race, which was also struck by rain, where at one stage he had been running 3rd with Renault before crashing out.

But eventually a Mercedes car, Charles Leclerc‘s Ferrari and Pierre Gasly‘s Red Bull all retired from the race and Hamilton finished 9th, which opened the door for Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat to battle it out for 3rd in their Racing Point and Toro Rosso machines.

Nico Hulkenberg of Haas after Qualifying for 2023 Canadian GP | Andy Hone / LAT Images

Hulkenberg on 200 races

Hulkenberg is one of the most regular features in F1 history as he gears up for his 200th race start around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the Mexican capital.

Just over a decade on from the Brazilian GP where he made a name for himself, he’s now a veteran of the sport, and reflected on his longevity despite a two-year hiatus between 2020-2022 as he lost his Renault seat to Esteban Ocon.

“It’s been good, it’s been fun,” the German said. “Obviously it’s a nice achievement, 200 races in the bank.

“This time last year I was not in a position where I saw that coming, but that’s how quickly things can change and by the end of next year, I’m gonna be close to 230s [races] and it’s nice.

“It makes me happy. I do what I like, what I’m passionate about and I’m happy.”

Despite reflecting on the landmark occasion, he reinforced the need to be serious about the weekend as Haas F1 battles to catch up to Williams and Alfa Romeo in the Constructors’ Championship.

“It’s not the time to celebrate, it’s the time to work,” Hulkenberg added. “We’re still in the championship and none of the competition will give anything, so it’s the usual grind really.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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