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Bahrain Grand Prix: Nico Hulkenberg Replaces COVID-Hit Sebastian Vettel For Season-Opening Formula 1 Race

The Aston Martin team in a press statement announced that Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for coronavirus.

Nico Hulkenberg competed in two races in 2020 as a replacement for other drivers.
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Sebastian Vettel will miss the season-opening Formula One (F1) race in Bahrain after testing positive for the coronavirus and will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, the Aston Martin team said Thursday. The Bahrain GP is scheduled for March 20. (More Motorsport News)

“Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Aston Martin Formula One Team reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards,” the team announced in a statement.

Hulkenberg lost his seat in F1 at the end of the 2019 season, but he competed in two races in 2020 as a replacement for other drivers. The 34-year-old German will drive the AMR22 in the first practice session for the Bahrain GP on Friday.

The news of Vettel testing positive for COVID-19 comes after McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo caught the same virus that ruled him out of the pre-season test. However, the Australian is fit to race for McLaren this weekend.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, this is the first time Vettel is missing a race. In 2020, Hulkenberg filled in for Racing Point, Aston Martin's previous guise, when Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were sidelined.

“I got a call early this morning so it was quite a late surprise. It is a shame for Sebastian and I wish him well. I just have to try and get up to speed as quickly as possible,” Hulkenberg said on Thursday.

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