Nico Hulkenberg comments on relationship with Kevin Magnussen after tensions

Nico Hulkenberg last held a full-time seat in Formula 1 in 2019, when he partnered Daniel Ricciardo at Renault.

Haas’ newest signing Nico Hulkenberg has revealed how challenging it has been to get himself back into the shape needed to race full-time in Formula 1, with the German having been more behind-the-scenes in recent years.

Since being replaced at Renault by Esteban Ocon for 2020, the experienced German has been a reserve driver, with him having worked for the Racing Point/Aston Martin set-up.

Hulkenberg played a pivotal role at Racing Point in particular in 2020, as he replaced both Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll at times during the Covid-hit season.

Of course, he also replaced four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel in the opening two rounds of last season, after the now-retired German contracted COVID-19 himself.

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His appearance at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last year then was his final time racing in F1, at least until he competes at the Bahrain Grand Prix in a couple of weeks.

Given that he’s only been a reserve driver the last three years, he’s not had to train as hard as when racing full-time, something which has made for a busy off-season.

Whilst the winter break has been “intense” for the German, he’s confident that he’s “ready to go now” with Haas, as he prepares to reignite his career at the pinnacle of motorsport.

“The off-season was a mix of things,” Hulkenberg said during a Q&A.

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“There was a lot of gym, to be honest, it was an intense two months that I used pretty well to build up the physical strength again.

“Obviously there was Christmas-time with family and friends. All and all it was an enjoyable time, but I’m sharp, fresh and ready to go now.”

Hulkenberg is, of course, partnering Kevin Magnussen this season, in what will be a fascinating duo to watch.

The pair have clashed in the past, which has resulted in several questions to both drivers over how they’ll treat each other; however, Hulkenberg is adamant that he has “no concerns whatsoever” over their “working relationship”.

“We [Hulkenberg and Magnussen] are only getting to know each other now, really,” he commented.

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“It’s difficult to judge a driver’s driving style if you haven’t done a few races together.

“You really need to see data to see and be able to compare. That will take some time before we can answer that but working relationship-wise, I have no concerns whatsoever.

“I think he’s very professional, very experienced too. We’ll push each other to push the team forward.”