Hulkenberg 'would be a good team mate' - Verstappen

Nico Hulkenberg (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Nico Hulkenberg (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Mark Thompson

• Nico Hulkenberg is linked with a move to Red Bull in 2021.

• Max Verstappen would welcome Hulkenberg as team mate.

• Hulkenberg's presence would push Verstappen to do better.

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Max Verstappen says 2021 Red Bull candidate Nico Hulkenberg "would be a good team mate".

Throughout his current team mate Alex Albon's struggles this year, Red Bull officials have consistently backed the British-born Thai driver.

But more recently, Dr Helmut Marko has admitted that he may need to "look outside our team" if Albon "does not live up to expectations".

Marko even named Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez specifically, indicating that it would help the team if Verstappen is pushed even harder by the sister car.

2021 championship

Marko told Sky Deutschland: "Our goal for next year is to fight for the championship. If we understand that Verstappen is not being pushed, we need to know what the limit of the car is."

In Portugal, Verstappen was initially reluctant to comment on the growing Hulkenberg rumour, insisting: "It is not my problem. I don't see the point in answering questions about that."

But he opened up in greater detail when sitting down for an interview with Kai Ebel, the charismatic personality for the German broadcaster RTL.

He said: "Obviously I can't say too much about it, but Nico is a wonderful driver. What he achieved at the Nurburgring was very good. I think he would be a good team mate, but - again - it's not up to me."

Meanwhile, Verstappen said that although Mercedes has now ceased development of its 2020 car, he backs Red Bull's decision to keep pushing this year.

The driver said: "I think it's more important to keep knowing this year's car better, because we can't do that much about it for next year and it's extremely important to eliminate the weaknesses. What works for Mercedes doesn't necessary have to be right for us. We'll definitely keep going and next year we'll find out where we all stand."

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Who should have replaced Sergio Perez at this weekend's British GP?
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Sebastian Vettel - At least he'll get a taste of what the 2021 car will be like
26% - 560 votes
Nico Hulkenberg - He's been with the team before
28% - 588 votes
Fernando Alonso - A true racer, and the fastest Spaniard around
33% - 708 votes
Jenson Button - Any team can benefit from a champion driver
13% - 278 votes