A brief biography of Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg, including his career history and Formula One statistics
Nico Hülkenberg found his vocation when he started karting at the age of ten, and five years later became German Junior Karting Champion in 2002 and followed that up with the German Kart Championship the following season. Hülkenberg found early representation from Michael Schumacher's long-term manager Willi Weber who dubbed the teenager an "unbelievable talent."
Hülkenberg moved to German Formula BMW in 2005 and produced a dominant display as he clinched the title in his maiden season. He also had stellar success in the A1 World Cup of Motorsport competing for Germany, and his nine wins in 2006-7 won Team Germany the championship and made Hülkenberg the most successful driver in the series' history. His extraordinary run of success continued with the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series and then in 2009 he won the GP2 Series title ahead of the likes of Vitaly Petrov, Lucas di Grassi, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
That achievement earned him a seat in Formula One with Williams in 2010. However, despite winning the team's first pole position in five years in Brazil, Hülkenberg was let go by the team at the end of the season and he spent a year as Force India's test driver instead. After the team's regular driver Adrian Sutil was charged over a nightclub fracas in China and forced to take a leave of absence from the sport, Hülkenberg took over the race seat for the 2012 season. When Sutil returned to the team in 2013, Hülkenberg accepted an offer from Sauber to race alongside Esteban Gutiérrez.
Hülkenberg returned to Force India the following season where he started what would prove to be an enduring partnership with Sergio Pérez. However despite the German's track record and obvious potential, Formula One success has remained frustratingly elusive: more than 100 races after his debut he's yet to finish on the podium, his best result being fourth place in Belgium (2012) and Korea (2013).
2015 and 2016 saw Hulkenberg continue to chase his first podium, but to no avail, he helped Force India to their best ever finish of fourth in 2016 but he never managed to break into the top three.