Nico Hulkenberg is one of the true talents on the grid, but for one reason or another a breakthrough in Formula One has never really happened and a move to Renault for the 2017 season looks to be the last throw of the dice for the German.
Like Vandoorne, Hulkenberg was a multiple championship winner in the lower formula, first in Formula BMW, before moving on to Formula 3, the A1 GP series where he raced for Germany and GP2 where he won in his debut season.
He found himself as a test driver at Williams for the 2009 season, alongside his GP2 championship winning year which saw him get a race drive in the following season. With Williams a shadow of their former self, Rosberg leaving to go to Mercedes, it was only a single pole position for the German – and a quite amazing one at that in Brazil.
Finding himself demoted, despite a good season for Williams he found a home at Force India, first as test driver in 2011, before making his return to the sport as a race driver in 2012. It was another decent season for the German, this time claiming a single fastest lap on his way to 11th in the championship.
Moving teams again in 2013 wasn’t such a great move. While still competitive at the Swiss team, it was just has they were hitting money problems which at times saw him not being paid. Although he scored less points than the previous season, he was actually placed higher in 10th.
He moved back to Force India for 2014, the team adopting a new approach to their driver line up by employing Hulkenberg and Perez as the best drivers they could find on the market. Despite Perez picking up a number of podiums in Formula One, it is still something which eludes the German as he makes his way to Renault for the 2017 season.
There was one recent event which is notable though, and that is the Le Mans win in 2015. In a quite amazing run of form, it was unprecedented for a current Formula One driver to go to Le Mans and win, in what was one of the most exciting races of recent times.