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Motor racing: Hulkenberg gets second chance after Perez tests positive again

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Nico Hulkenberg will continue as a stand-in for Racing Point at Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday after Mexican Sergio Perez again tested positive for COVID-19, the team said on Friday.

Formula One F1 - 70th Anniversary Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain - August 6, 2020 Racing Point's Nico Hulkenberg during a press conference ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The 32-year-old German was drafted in for last weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, alongside Canadian race regular Lance Stroll, but did not start the race after an engine problem.

“Sergio’s test has returned a positive result and he will continue to follow the guidance of Public Health England,” Racing Point said. “He is physically well and recovering.”

The team had said on Thursday that Perez’s quarantine period was over and they were waiting on the test to see whether he could race.

Perez first tested positive at Silverstone last week. He revealed then that he had returned to Mexico by private plane to be with his mother, who had suffered an accident and was in hospital, after last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg raced for Renault last season but lost his seat to Frenchman Esteban Ocon.

The German, a Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar winner, has never stood on the F1 podium in 177 starts but is stepping into a pink Mercedes-lookalike car capable of challenging the top teams.

“I’m excited to get going again with the team at Silverstone. Last weekend, it was a real step into the unknown having been away from the team for a few years -- and driving a car I’d never driven before,” he said.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last week about the RP20, and I am ready to apply my experiences to this weekend. Racing at the same track again makes things a bit easier and the team has done a great job in helping me get up to speed.

“I think we can fight for points this weekend, which is definitely my goal.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Stonestreet/Peter Rutherford

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