Nico Hulkenberg to replace Sergio Perez after Red Bull meeting

Nico Hulkenberg has made one fewer Q3 appearance this season than Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg was spotted walking into Red Bull’s hospitality at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, just a couple of days after he was praised by advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.

Hulkenberg has performed brilliantly for Haas since returning to Formula 1 this season, with the German having made one Q3 appearance less than Sergio Perez.

The German driver has been a bit of a qualifying master in 2023, to the extent where he’s reportedly set to receive a new contract at the American side.

Marko recently admitted that Hulkenberg’s qualifying pace combined with Perez’s race pace would form the “perfect” team-mate for reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, who’s currently in a league of his own.

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“That’s the right thought,” Marko told

“The two would be the perfect qualifying and race combination.”

Marko made his comments ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, with Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham having found it interesting to see the Haas driver visit Red Bull.

“It interests me that Nico Hulkenberg just walked past us to go into Red Bull,” said Pinkham on the F1 Nation podcast. “What’s going on there?”

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It appears that Hulkenberg’s visit to Red Bull shouldn’t be investigated too deeply though, with reporter Erik van Haren having suggested that perhaps the driver travelled to Spa-Francorchamps with Verstappen.

According to Van Haren, Hulkenberg has a “very good connection” with the two-time World Champion’s entourage, as well as with the Dutchman himself.

READ: Helmut Marko snubs Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

“I think he has a very good connection with the Verstappen camp, and I think Max is here with his private jet and Nico lives in Monaco, maybe that’s the reason he is here,” Van Haren said, as reported by

“Because he has his bag already with him and he has changed his clothes, so I think that’s the reason but we can check that.

“But Nico and Max they get well along together, I think if they will not be team-mates in Formula 1, you don’t have to be surprised if maybe in a few years’ time they are going to 24 hours of Le Mans together.”