Nico Hulkenberg’s dramatic return to Formula One suffered a setback on Sunday when his Racing Point car failed to start ahead of the race.

The German driver, called in to replace coronavirus victim Sergio Perez late on Thursday after the Mexican returned a positive test result, was left to stand aside as his crew worked on the controversial ‘pink Mercedes’ car in the pits.

The former Williams, Sauber, Force India and Renault driver could do nothing, but watch their desperate efforts.

He had done a very solid job on his return, after being dropped by Renault at the end of 2019, to qualify ninth on the grid.

The team removed the floor of his car to try and diagnose the problem, but ran out of time due to unresolved power unit problems.