Nico Hulkenburg is one of Formula 1's most promising drivers, even though he is into his fifth season at the top tier of open wheel racing. Currently driving for Force India, Hulkenburg has recently been linked with a move to a host of bigger team after his win at Le Mans.
Hulkenburg started out his career in Formula BMW in 2005, winning the title comfortably winning the title although he was stripped of a win in the world final after it was decided that he brake tested the other cars under the safety car.
For 2006-07 the young Hulkenburg joined the A1 Grand Prix, driving for his native German team, and with nine wins in his rookie season making him the most successful A1GP driver in history as well as practically wining the German team the title.
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After this success it was inevitable that the German would start making his way up the Formula series. From 2006-08 Hulkenburg drove in Formula 3, finishing fifth in the German Formula 3 championship in 2006.
For the 2007 season he moved into the Formula 3 Euro series with the same team that both Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta had won championships in the previous two years, with his first win coming at Norsing after starting 18th on the grid. He went on to win two more races in that season.
After winning the Masters of Formula 3, race from his teammate Romain Grosjean after he stalled at the start, he then went on to win the Formula 3 Euro series in 2008 finishing on 85 points taking seven wins in the process.
Hulkenburg then moved on to GP2, for 2009, competing in the GP2 Asia series. His first race was at Bahrain where he took pole, although he finished fourth in both races. This would change, however, as he would take his first win of the series at his next trip out in Qatar.
Qualifying on pole he finished first in the first race of the weekend with a dominant 13-second lead over second placed, future team mate, Sergio Perez, despite this, he still finished sixth in the championship.
Hulkenburg continued to shine throughout the next season, going on to complete the clean sweep at his home Grand Prix (Nurburgring), qualifying on pole then going on to win both races and get the fastest lap in both races. This led to him going on to win the championship while also becoming the first driver to win the title without needing the final weekend.
At the end of that season he signed for Williams to become their test and reserve driver for the 2009-10 season. The year after it was announced that Hulkenburg would be partnering Rubens Barrichello at the Williams team. The young German had a solid season even securing his first pole at the Brazilian Grand Prix the same season.
For the next few years Hulkenburg drove for Force India, Sauber and then Force India once again, gaining a reputation as a solid, consistent driver who was able to take care of his tyres better than most. He also showed off his ability to position his car brilliantly to stop faster cars being able to pass.
This has not gone unrecognised among the big teams, Hulkenburg has been linked with moves to the big teams on numerous occasions, however this season he as attracted more attention that previous years, and with rumours flying that Raikkonen could be leaving Ferrari, he could go there, or if they opt for Ricciardo or Bottas it opens the door for a move to Red Bull or a return to Williams.
Whatever team he ends up with next year, I believe that he certainly, in the right car has the potential to be a world championship winner.
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