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Sebastian Vettel

Aston Martin still unsure on Vettel return for Saudi Arabia

Nico Hulkenberg is travelling to Saudi Arabia to be on call for Aston Martin, should Sebastian Vettel be unavailable again.

Hulkenberg Bahrain
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Sebastian Vettel's participation in this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix remains up in the air, as he has not yet tested negative for COVID-19.

Nico Hulkenberg, who substituted for his fellow German last time out in Bahrain, is travelling to Jeddah to be on standby for the event.

"Sebastian Vettel has not yet returned the required negative COVID test to fly to the Saudi Arabia GP," read a statement from Aston Martin.

"Nico Hülkenberg will be in Jeddah to deputise for Seb if necessary.

"We will delay our final decision until Friday to provide Seb every opportunity to race."

Hulkenberg ready to stand in again

Vettel tested positive for the virus in the build-up to last weekend's season opener, with Aston Martin calling on dedicated reserve driver Hulkenberg.

Despite having no real-life experience of the AMR22, and only being called up on Thursday, Hulkenberg adapted quickly and out-qualified teammate Lance Stroll.

Hulkenberg subsequently declared that he would be ready to stand in again if required, and that may well prove to be the case following Aston Martin's latest update – even if only for Friday's pair of practice sessions at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Providing he can return the required negative test and make the trip to Saudi Arabia, Vettel would have until Saturday's qualifying session to step into the cockpit of his car.

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F1 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix RN365 News dossier