Nico Hulkenberg described his return to Formula 1 action as “very special” after being confirmed as Sergio Perez’s stand-in for the British Grand Prix.
Perez returned a positive Covid-19 test and is now self-isolating, with Racing Point drafting in Hulkenberg as his replacement.
Hulkenberg has started 177 races for Williams, Sauber, Force India and Renault, but was left without a 2020 drive after the French marque opted not to renew his contract.
Hulkenberg only got the call on Thursday afternoon from Racing Point and swiftly travelled from Germany to the UK.
He was only allowed in to the paddock 10 minutes prior to the start of FP1 when his Covid-19 test was confirmed as negative.
He finished ninth in first practice and then classified seventh in the afternoon session, which was fronted by Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll.
“The last 24 hours have been a bit special, crazy and wild,” he said.
“Yesterday afternoon I got the call and took the plane here, had a seat fitting at 2am and got into the simulator at 8am this morning for an hour to do some track work.
“It was a short night but all worthwhile. A great effort by the team, I want to thank all the night shift guys for doing an amazing job to get me into the car quite comfortably.
“I also want to thank the FIA for turning it around so fast on the super licence. It’s been very special.”
It marked Hulkenberg’s first outing in a Formula 1 car since last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“It’s tough to train for, it’s so unique and so special,” he said.
“Even though I’m in decent shape, this kind of G-Force around here and the high-speed tracks, in 35 degrees… I felt the neck already.”