Vettel poised to miss Saudi Arabia GP as F1 star is yet to return negative Covid test with Hulkenberg on standby

SEBASTIAN VETTEL is a major doubt for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he’s still testing positive for Covid.

The German returned a positive test ahead of last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and was forced to miss the first race of the season.

Sebastian Vettel is a doubt for the Saudi Grand Prix as he’s still testing positive for CovidCredit: PA

Nico Hulkenberg could end deputising for his countryman again

Nico Hulkenberg could end deputising for his countryman againCredit: EPA

Aston Martin were hoping a negative test would clear Vettel to take part in the second race of the campaign.

But the former Ferrari star has yet to turn one in – meaning Nico Hulkenberg could end up filling in for him again.

An Aston Martin statement read: “Sebastian Vettel has not yet returned the required negative COVID test to fly to the #SaudiArabiaGP.

“Nico Hulkenberg will be in Jeddah to deputise for Seb if necessary.

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“We will delay our final decision until Friday to provide Seb every opportunity to race.”

Hulkenberg hadn’t set foot in a race car for over a year before filling in for his countryman.

He said: “Just in the last 24 hours – I got called out of bed pretty much yesterday morning, got the news, packed up, and got going.

“I think it’s obviously a bit of an interesting situation again, so yes, I’m just going to take it lap by lap, session by session.

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“I haven’t been in the car for five, six days [of pre-season testing], so it will probably take a few laps to get some of the rust off me and I’ll just take it easy and take my time to get used to it again.”

Hulkenberg finished in 17th place in the opening race of the season in Bahrain, which was won by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

The 34-year-old said of his performance: “It was interesting. It was difficult, very difficult to be honest – first time [racing] obviously in a long, long time.

“There’s so many things happening in the race, it’s so dynamic, the car balance is changing, the fuel load is changing, so it’s difficult to keep up with all these changes and stay on top of things.

“So, it was difficult. I didn’t really have one big mistake – I think I out-braked myself once trying to overtake someone and from then onwards it seemed to get a bit more difficult for me.

“But yes, it was always going to be tough to expect much more than that.”


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