Racing Point confirm Niko Hulkenberg as Sergio Perez breaks silence after coronavirus blow

Racing Point have confirmed Nico Hulkenberg will replace Sergio Perez for this weekend’s British Grand Prix after the Mexican driver tested positive for coronavirus. Hulkenberg spent five seasons on Racing Point’s books during their time as Force India and his temporary return was announced minutes before Free Practice 1 on Friday.

Hulkenberg rushed down to the Racing Point garage after his seat was confirmed following his own negative test for the deadly COVID-19.

The German – who left Renault following the conclusion of the 2019 F1 season – must now get to grips with the RP20, in which Perez and Lance Stroll have impressed this season.

Confirmation of Hulkenberg standing in for Sunday’s race came after Perez revealed he felt “extremely sad” to have been ruled out of the British Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old also opened up on why he had visited his homeland of Mexico between the Hungarian and British Grand Prix, insisting he had followed protocols aimed at preventing the contracting and spread of coronavirus.

“As you know I tested positive for COVID-19,” said Perez, in a video posted on social media. “I’m extremely sad – definitely one of the saddest days in my career.

“The amount of preparation we put into this weekend to be 100 per cent ready, I knew I had a great car underneath me, that the team had done a fantastic job.

“I’m really sad that this happened, but it just shows how vulnerable we all to this virus. I follow all the instructions from FIA, from my team. After Hungary I took a private plane to Mexico to see my mum for two days because she had a big accident. So as soon as she left hospital I was able to see her.

“Then I came back to Europe, same way, with all the protocols in place. And I just got it, I don’t know from where. I have no symptoms at all. So it just shows how vulnerable we all are to this. I want to thank all my fellow drivers for all the support they have given me, my team, the authorities, the fans.

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