Vettel to be replaced by Hulkenberg for Bahrain Grand Prix after positive COVID test

By Sports Desk March 17, 2022

Sebastian Vettel will miss the opening race of the 2022 Formula One World Championship after the Aston Martin driver was ruled out of the Bahrain Grand Prix following a positive test for COVID-19.

The four-time world champion will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for the first event of the season, marking his first F1 race since 2020 and coincidentally taking place at the same venue where he made his debut with Williams in 2010.

Vettel, who headed up Aston Martin's return to F1 last year, secured a second-place podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in his maiden season with the team.

But the former Red Bull driver, who dominated the drivers' championship across a four-year stretch between 2010 and 2013, struggled to maintain that form across the rest of the campaign.

Hulkenberg will race alongside Lance Stroll this weekend and will take control of the car from FP1 on Friday.

Elsewhere, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo will be fit to feature after missing the last week of testing through coronavirus.

The Australian, however, has since returned a negative test and will feature for the team this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

Related items

  • Verstappen claims record-equalling eighth consecutive pole for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Verstappen claims record-equalling eighth consecutive pole for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

    Max Verstappen takes pole position at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, equalling Ayrton Senna’s record in the process.

    It is Verstappen’s eighth consecutive pole in Formula One after he recorded a best time of 1:14.746 around the track in the final qualification session for Sunday’s race.

    The Dutchman will share the front row with Oscar Piastri, though he may receive a penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in Q1.

    Piastri’s McLaren team-mate Lando Norris finished just behind him in third, while the two Ferraris, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, rounded out the top five after failing to build on their strong starts.

    Red Bull’s Sergio Perez failed to make it past Q2 after dropping to 11th, while Fernando Alonso was forced to pit before the end of Q3, finishing last. 

  • McLaren not ready to challenge Red Bull...yet - Norris McLaren not ready to challenge Red Bull...yet - Norris

    Lando Norris says McLaren still need more time if they want to challenge Red Bull consistently after taking his maiden victory in the Miami Grand Prix.

    Norris was helped by a well-timed safety car that allowed him to jump ahead of Max Verstappen in Miami to become just the third different driver to win a Grand Prix this season.

    The 24-year-old currently sits fourth in the F1 drivers’ standings after three podium finishes, and he expects another competitive race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.

    "I'm confident we can make steps forward, but I've made it clear we're not going to be there every weekend," Norris said.

    "We need more if we are to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari more consistently.

    "We definitely took a step forward, but other teams have upgrades, too. So, we're not getting ahead of ourselves.

    "I still think we’re the third-best team at the moment, but that could change if we have another good weekend here, and I'm confident with our rate of development that by next year we can challenge a lot more often for wins and, in the big picture, challenge for the title."

    Norris’ victory in Florida followed a major aerodynamic development to the McLaren, and he believes it will be an even better match to the track on Sunday.

    "We are just better suited for Imola, potentially the upgrade a little bit as well,” he added.

    "Imola has generally been one of our more successful tracks - and for me as driver."

  • Newey expects to join another team after Red Bull exit Newey expects to join another team after Red Bull exit

    Adrian Newey admits for the first time that he expects to join another F1 team when he leaves Red Bull.

    The legendary designer will depart the team in early 2025 after 19 years and is free to join a rival outfit ahead of the 2026 season.

    While he did not reveal where he might go, Ferrari are regarded as favourite to land Newey as he is known to have had conversations with a Ferrari representative, while other teams have also reportedly made their interest known.

    In an interview with his manager Eddie Jordan, Newey admitted he is "seriously considering changing teams, going somewhere else and doing another four or five years or whatever."

    He added: "I feel a bit tired at the moment, but at some point, I’ll probably go again."

    Newey’s decision to leave Red Bull was influenced by the tumultuous period behind the scenes for the Formula One constructors’ champions.

    Controversy surrounded team principal Christian Horner at the start of the season as he was accused of engaging in inappropriate controlling behaviour towards a female member of staff, accusations he denied and was cleared of following an independent investigation.

    Newey reflected on the decision to leave after almost two decades with the club.

    "To walk away from Red Bull was a very hard decision but it was one I needed to take for a whole host of reasons. They had been my family," he continued.

    "I never really thought it would be big news so for it to be in all the flipping papers and on the telly was a bit of a shock."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.