Monday 6 March at 08:35 :
Mar.6 (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg says he has no regrets about being a works Renault driver in 2017 instead of moving right to the front of the grid with Mercedes.
It is perhaps true that, had the German delayed instead of immediately signed the deal to switch to Renault from Force India, he may have been first in the queue to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg.
Hulkenberg, 29, doesn't think so.
"First of all, it would have unrealistic to wait so long without a signature," he told the German sports magazine Kicker.
"And even if I had been free in December, I would not have been sure that Mercedes would take me. No, I am totally satisfied with my decision," Hulkenberg insists.
But instead of having a title-winning car in his hands, Hulkenberg finds himself at the young Renault works project but already at the ripe age of 29.
"Right now, I feel very comfortable in my skin, and very comfortable with my situation in the really cool Renault project," the German said.
"I'm extremely looking forward to it, no matter how old I am."
Hulkenberg also played down Renault's level of performance last year, with the carmaker having rescued the almost-collapsed Lotus team at the last minute.
"There was so much going on that no one can have expected much," he said. "But all that is going to change now.
"I am convinced that if we work hard together, we have a good future ahead."