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By Sports Desk July 06, 2020

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  • Mercedes considered Hulkenberg when signing Hamilton - Brawn Mercedes considered Hulkenberg when signing Hamilton - Brawn

    Ross Brawn hailed Nico Hulkenberg after a seventh-place finish on his return to Formula One and revealed Mercedes almost signed the German in 2012.

    Hulkenberg was unable to secure a drive for 2020 after a disappointing season at Renault last time out.

    But the 32-year-old has been thrust back into the thick of the action due to Racing Point driver Sergio Perez contracting coronavirus.

    Perez missed the Silverstone double-header, although car issues prevented Hulkenberg from starting the British Grand Prix.

    He was back involved for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, however, and came seventh after a very impressive qualifying performance saw him third on the grid.

    Formula One managing director Brawn was certainly impressed, but he admitted to long being a Hulkenberg fan, having considered the then Force India man when he brought Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes.

    And Brawn believes Hulkenberg is deserving of another opportunity in the sport.

    "It was going to be an incredible physical challenge for Nico Hulkenberg," he wrote in his column for F1's official website.

    "I don't know how much he hurt at the end of the race, but it was great performance all weekend by someone who had just been dropped in the deep end.

    "I almost signed him years ago, when I was in charge at Mercedes. If Lewis hadn't joined Mercedes when he did, Nico was our next choice.

    "I've always respected Nico enormously as a driver. He's a very strong driver who should be in Formula One."

  • Hamilton promises to 'keep close eye' on Red Bull after surprise Verstappen win Hamilton promises to 'keep close eye' on Red Bull after surprise Verstappen win

    Lewis Hamilton was excited by Max Verstappen's surprise win at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix but insists Mercedes will not take their success for granted.

    Hamilton has dominated Formula One, winning the past three drivers' championships, and the Mercedes superstar leads the standings again in 2020.

    However, the Briton missed out on a fourth race win in succession and a second in two weeks at Silverstone on Sunday.

    With Mercedes' tyres blistering in the heat, Verstappen's Red Bull car thrived in the conditions and he triumphed to move second for the year, 30 points behind Hamilton.

    Defending champion Hamilton welcomed the challenge, though, telling a post-race news conference: "I think it's great.

    "As I said before, I want to have races where they're challenging - like today - so I'm excited to watch this race.

    "Obviously the Red Bull seems to be quite close in race conditions to us and obviously today is stronger, so it shows they don't have as bad a package as perhaps people had said in the past

    "But I think it's good. It will be interesting to see the progression through the rest of the year and I definitely will not overlook them.

    "I think we've got to keep a close eye on them and keep working to push forwards, because I don't think it's going to be easy by any means.

    "But I don't think my team has that mentality anyway, so we just keep our heads down.

    "I was hopeful today that maybe we would have – wishful thinking - some sort of race towards the end, but maybe in the future we will get to have some, a bit more."

  • Fourth 'feels like a victory' for Ferrari's Leclerc Fourth 'feels like a victory' for Ferrari's Leclerc

    Charles Leclerc celebrated a fourth-placed finish at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, claiming the result felt "like a victory" in his faltering Ferrari car. 

    The Scuderia are struggling in 2020 but Leclerc was pleasantly surprised by the pace in his SF1000 at Silverstone on Sunday. 

    With a number of his rivals - including both Mercedes cars - suffering in testing conditions for tyres, Leclerc required just one stop, a strategy shared by Renault's Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen. 

    Having started eighth on the grid, Leclerc was delighted with the achievement, even if fourth represents a modest prize compared to Ferrari seasons past. 

    "I'm so happy today. For me, it feels like a victory," Leclerc told Sky Sports. "It's not looking good once we call a fourth place a victory, but at the moment it's where we're at. 

    "Last year, I think my weakest point was the tyre management and I've worked very hard. Every time that I work, and I see the results on track, it's a huge satisfaction. 

    "To get fourth place today... I expected to go eighth in a best-case scenario this morning - or further down the grid. I'm extremely happy with fourth place. 

    "We were very happy and, to be honest, we need to analyse to understand why we were so quick, because I don't really understand for now." 

    However, while Leclerc was pleased with a result that took him up to fourth in the drivers' standings, things went from bad to worse for team-mate Sebastian Vettel. 

    In his final season at Ferrari, the four-time world champion could only manage 12th and claimed his strategy "didn't make any sense". 

    Asked why he trailed so far behind Leclerc in the same car, Vettel added to Sky Sports: "I don't know. I guess something's there that I am missing. 

    "I'm not sure what it is. Nevertheless, I get out of bed and try to do the best that I can. 

    "For sure, today, we could have been higher up. With my side, there was the spin - I'm not quite sure what happened there - and also the strategy we could have recovered better. 

    "The main difference is that we didn't have clean races from when we started. He had a couple of clean races so far."

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