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Nico Hulkenberg “Returns” the Favor to Max Verstappen by Helping Him Match Ayrton Senna’s Record

Anirban Aly Mandal

Nico Hulkenberg “Returns” the Favor to Max Verstappen by Helping Him Match Ayrton Senna’s Record

Max Verstappen grabbed a stunning pole position, by the tiniest of margins, for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP. This made it eight pole positions in a row for the three-time champion, matching Ayrton Senna’s record, which dates back to the 1989 season. However, Verstappen was helped by a tow from Nico Hulkenberg during his final Q3 run. The German driver has now explained in his post-qualifying interview that he was just returning the favor.

Hulkenberg was quoted on X (formerly Twitter) as saying, “We’ve been helping each other out this quali. He helped me out a few times in Q2, and I returned the favor.”  Similarly to Hulkenberg, the Dutchman also helped the Haas driver previously by giving him a tow during Q2.

Hulkenberg was flying during the Qualifying session for the Emilia Romagna GP. The German driver made his fourth Q3 appearance of the season. His performances have been stellar compared to his teammate, Kevin Magnussen, who has not made it to Q3 even once this season.

Hulkenberg and Verstappen’s camaraderie on track should not come as a surprise as the duo are good friends. Recently, the Dutchman even promoted and sold a few mini helmets of the German on his website.

Are Nico Hulkenberg and Max Verstappen about to become teammates?

Dutch journalist Erik van Haren has the inside line on Max Verstappen‘s inner circle. And according to him, both Hulkenberg and Verstappen share a very cordial relationship with each other. He termed the German as having “very good” connections with the Verstappen clan.

Hulkenberg has been signed up for the Audi project and will race for Sauber next year before the team is rebranded as a fully-works Audi outfit from 2026 onwards. Verstappen seems like he will remain at Red Bull for the foreseeable future. Hence, the two pairing up in F1 looks like a distant dream.

That being said, Verstappen has expressed his desire to try his hand at Endurance Racing many times in the past. Moreover, he will be participating in the virtual 24 hours of Nürburgring on iRacing alongside the Emilia Romagna GP this weekend.

Hulkenberg, on the other hand, is already a Le Mans winner when he won with Porsche in 2015. Hence, Van Haren has suggested that he will not be surprised to see the duo pair up to compete in the biggest race in the history of Endurance Racing: the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Anirban Aly Mandal

Anirban Aly Mandal


Anirban Aly Mandal is an F1 writer at The SportsRush, with over 1000 articles under his belt, Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 on his computer. With over half a decade's worth of time spent religiously following the sport, he’s dived deep into the world of motorsports. However, Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports and the law. His passion for the sport is so immense that he aspires to work as a legal advisor in the most prestigious racing series in the world someday. When it comes to Formula 1, Anirban finds great pleasure in re-watching classic races and idolizes the likes of Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, and Sebastian Vettel. His top picks include Brazil '91, Silverstone '92, and Germany '19. Outside of the sport, Anirban is an avid sim racer, often found racing on titles like Assetto Corsa, F1 22, and Automobilista. Apart from his interests in gaming, Anirban has a keen interest in philosophy, literature and music.

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