Why does Hulkenberg view his survival in F1 as 'an achievement'?

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Standing the test of time in Formula 1 on his merits, without benefiting from any sort of personal backing, is viewed as an achievement of sorts by Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

The German driver, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday, is in his eighth season of Grand Prix racing and considers he has done well to survive in the sport despite the threat of pay drivers often looming large.

"In a way that is an achievement, to still be here and have survived, I think it does say something about me and the driver I am," Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com.

"At the same time that sounds a bit sh*t also. And boring, you know? I want more.

"But we know that you need to have the right timing, you need to be in the right car in the right moment. That’s why I am here now. My career is not done.

"I have a very good team partner with Renault now, and obviously we have a target together and a vision, that we're fighting hard for and working for."

Hulkenberg kick-started his F1 career with Williams in 2010, but wasn't retained at the time by the Grove-based outfit which preferred to take in the dollars of Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado.

Luckily, he found refuge over at Force India, a team where talent superseded personal sponsorship.

"Since then, there were teams out there valuing talent over money – which was good for me," explained the man with 147 races under his belt but no podium finishes.

"I never had the help of money in the background or, you know, it could be the cherry on the top a little bit, whereas some others had that to offer.

"But like I said, I had to do it through performance and convince that way."

And at one point, the Hulk almost convinced Ferrari to recruit his services, in 2014, when the House of Maranello sought a replacement for Felipe Massa.

Discussions took place, contracts were drawn up, but neither party ultimately put pen to paper.

"It seemed, you know, serious. It seemed close," he remembers.

"There were negotiations, there were contracts flowing about, being sent between lawyers, but it doesn't matter now.

"At the end it didn't happen, and yeah, the rest is history."

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