Four-time world champion misses first F1 race since coronavirus outbreak; ‘super sub’ Hulkenberg has competed before when Perez and Stroll were sidelined and gets chance to shine again

Last Updated: 17/03/22 9:41am

Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the opening Grand Prix of the season

Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the opening Grand Prix of the season

Sebastian Vettel will miss this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain GP after testing positive for Covid-19.

Aston Martin reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg will deputise for the four-time world champion, the team have confirmed.

It is the first race Vettel will have missed since the coronavirus outbreak, although Hulkenberg – while off the grid as a permanent driver since 2019 – has filled in for drivers before.

In 2020, Hulkenberg completed ‘super-sub’ duties for Racing Point, Aston Martin’s previous guise, when Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were sidelined.

Hulkenberg performed admirably over three races and, with vast F1 experience, has been linked with countless drives since.

But he will get his chance to shine again at the Bahrain GP.

There is also an F1 race on March 27 in Saudi Arabia. Should Vettel test negative before that race, he should be cleared to take part.

More to follow.

Follow the Bahrain GP live on Sky Sports F1

Sky Sports F1 is your home for every race this season, and it all starts with the Bahrain GP this weekend.

We will have build-up right through the week before covering all the action live from the Bahrain International Circuit, from Friday’s first practice session through to Sunday’s season-opening Grand Prix.

Sky Sports F1 experts Martin Brundle, David Croft, Damon Hill, Ted Kravitz, Simon Lazenby, Natalie Pinkham and Naomi Schiff will all be out in Bahrain bringing you unrivalled analysis and punditry.

In a 2022 twist, the drivers’ press conference will take place on Friday morning before both practice sessions and our live F1 Show, recapping the action.

Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race – both live at 3pm – will be followed by Ted’s Notebook, while there is also the added boost of the Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships kicking off in Bahrain.

As always, you can also follow the action online and on the Sky Sports app.