Hulkenberg thinks Hamilton crash changed 'trajectory' of his career

Nico Hulkenberg boasts the unfortunate record of the highest number of races - 177 - without ever achieving a podium finish.

Nico Hulkenberg last drove for Renault in Formula One.   -  Getty Images

Nico Hulkenberg believes his Formula One career could have followed a different trajectory were it not for a crash involving Lewis Hamilton.

The 32-year-old German, who made his debut for Williams 10 years ago, boasts the unfortunate record of the highest number of races - 177 - without ever achieving a podium finish.

READ | Nico Rosberg reflects on battles with Lewis Hamilton

At Interlagos in 2012, Hulkenberg had qualified sixth and was vying for the lead at turn one on lap 54 when his Force India collided with Hamilton's McLaren.

The incident ended their chances of victory, with Jenson Button taking the chequered flag at the end of an eventful day in Brazil.

Looking back on the race, Hulkenberg, who had briefly held the lead before a spin, told CNN: "Obviously, it was looking very promising. With Lewis, I was kind of racing, I debate with myself, 'Was that a mistake or not?'.

"I was trying to get the lead back. It was a bit unfortunate, it was damp still on one side and we had this other lapped car in front, which didn't help as well.

"It was racing, but also a bit too rushed, [I was] not patient in the moment, that was maybe not the smartest thing. So, if I had maybe settled in that corner and waited for another opportunity it could've been a very different day.

"It was early in my career and that could have put my career in a different path, a different trajectory."

Hulkenberg was replaced at Renault by Esteban Ocon for 2020, but he is still hopeful of securing a seat when the sport resumes some form of normality after the coronavirus crisis.

READ | Lewis Hamilton gets empty feeling thinking about F1 without fans

"I'm very much up for it, that's still my goal, my aim, but at the moment it's tricky to say, a lot of factors in there – and now everything's upside down anyway," he said.

"I'm staying in contact with people anyway. It's early. If there's a chance, I'll grab it. If it's a good opportunity and something that really excites me and gets me going then definitely, I will push for that."

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