Sebastian Vettel out of Bahrain Grand Prix with Covid-19 – Nico Hulkenberg replaces him

Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for Covid 19 with Nico Hulkenberg set to replace him at Aston Martin for the season opener in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel will miss the season’s opening race on March 20 – the Bahrain Grand Prix. The four-time world champion has tested positive for Covid-19 and will be replaced by fellow German and Aston Martin reserve driver, Nico Hulkenberg for the race in Bahrain.

Vettel is likely to be back before the second race of the season (if he tests negative) scheduled to take place on March 27 in Saudi Arabia. The 34-year old Hulkenberg has not been a permanent F1 driver since 2019 but did make three appearances in 2020 replacing Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll both of whom missed races due to covid-19.

Hulkenberg is one of the most experienced drivers presently in the F1 circuit. He made his F1 debut in 2010 and has driven for teams like Force India, Renault, Sauber and Williams. Hulkenberg last drove in F1 in 2020 for Racing Point.

The Aston Martin F1 team has officially tweeted the update on their official Twitter handle. The team says in its statement, “Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not, therefore, be taking part in the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix. Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards.” Hulkenberg returns for a first start in F1 since the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix and will be partnering with Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin F1 team.

Nico Hulkenberg becomes the second replacement driver in this F1 season after Kevin Magnussen

Nico Hulkenberg replacing Vettel is the second instance of a replacement driver taking part in the 2022 F1 Championship. While Hulkenberg’s appointment is temporary, Kevin Magnussen was earlier announced as the permanent replacement for Russian driver Nikita Mazepin in the Haas F1 team.

Kevin Magnussen previously drove for Haas F1 team from 2017 until the end of the 2020 season. The 29-year old is set to partner Mick Schumacher in the US-based as a replacement for Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin.

The Danish driver had quit from F1 and was set to join Peugeot’s World Endurance Championship squad for 2022. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in the sacking of Mazepin which in turn has opened up F1 doors for Magnussen once again. Magnussen comes with experience and has previously driven for McLaren and Renault teams besides Haas in Formula 1.

NUERBURG, GERMANY – OCTOBER 10: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Racing Point arrives in the Paddock as a possible replacement for the unwell Lance Stroll of Canada and Racing Point during final practice ahead of the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring on October 10, 2020 in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Kevin Magnussen is a driver fans can easily relate to Haas. Since the speculations of Mazepin’s removal have been doing the rounds a lot of formidable names have been discussed as the possible replacement option and Magnussen has emerged as an unlikely choice.

Haas principal Guenther Steiner had publicly spoken of test driver Pietro Fittipaldi as the automatic first choice. Media reports suggested Antonio Giovinazzi or Nico Hulkenberg could be the possible replacement, Magnussen was hardly spoken of but he just seems to be the best fit.

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