Aston Martin signing Nico Hulkenberg puts pressure on Sebastian Vettel: Jenson Button

Sebastian Vettel's tenure at Aston Martin got off to a shaky start, with reliability issues hampering his running in pre-season testing and a disastrous first race.

Sebastian Vettel in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)

According to 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel is now under increased pressure as a result of Aston Martin’s signing of Nico Hulkenberg as their reserve and development driver. Vettel’s tenure at Aston Martin got off to a shaky start, with reliability issues hampering his running in pre-season testing and a disastrous first Grand Prix with the British racing outfit.

Hulkenberg, who missed out on a Red Bull seat this season, saw his stock rise in the paddock after a strong showing in three stand-in races for then Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll last year. Button also believes that his arrival at the newly rebranded team will put more pressure on Vettel because Aston Martin knows they have a strong backup driver primed and ready if they decide to drop the four-time F1 World Champion.

“Just to add a little more pressure on Seb’s shoulders!,” Button wrote on social media after Hulkenberg was confirmed as Aston Martin’s reserve and development driver.


Hulkenberg stated earlier this month that he is ‘fully prepared’ for his new role and hopes that Aston Martin drivers Vettel and Stroll have ‘uninterrupted seasons’ this year.

“The team knows it can rely on me to step in and do an excellent job,” Hulkenberg said. “And I’m fully prepared for that challenge. It’s great to get this deal signed up with plenty of notice – last year, I didn’t have quite as much time to prepare before jumping in the car,” the veteran racer added.

“I’m really pleased to once again work with this team – with whom I have driven many times during my career. It will also be interesting to help develop the team through the season, and I’m really looking forward to pulling great lap times out of my arm sleeve,” Hulkenberg concluded.


Meanwhile, Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer stated that with the COVID-19 pandemic, having a strong reserve driver ready to step in is more important than ever.

“In these difficult times, the requirement for a capable and experienced reserve driver is especially important,” Szafnauer said. “Nico proved last year that he could jump in the car and perform superbly at a moment’s notice; now, with additional scope for preparation and integration, we know that we can rely on Nico to do an excellent job,” he added.


Vettel will start the US Grand Prix on the back foot after revealing that his Aston Martin team planned to equip him with a new engine for the event at the Circuit of The Americas.

“I think we are heading into, let’s say, a difficult weekend,” said Vettel. “We are changing the engine and therefore we will have a penalty. But I think we will see what we can do from where we start. Nevertheless, looking forward I think we can be strong here. How strong, we will see,” the German added.

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