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Nico Hulkenberg: The Next Michael Schumacher?

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIMarch 11, 2010

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 02:  Nico Huelkenberg of Germany and team Williams prepares to drive at the Circuito De Jerez on December 2, 2009 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Michael Schumacher will make his Formula One return this weekend at the Bahrain GP after a three year hiatus.

In that time period and longer, many top young talents, German drivers especially, have been heralded as the next Michael Schumacher.

Just like up and coming talented Argentinian footballers are touted as the next Diego Maradona, German drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, and Nick Heidfeld have been labelled as the new Schumacher.

And now the next top talent from Germany's Formula One production line is no exception to that, as 22-year-old Nico Hulkenberg will make his long-awaited F1 debut in Bahrain this weekend.

There are many intriguing reasons as to why the Bahrain GP will be a very exciting one, as it'll be interesting to see how new teams Lotus F1 and Virgin Racing will perform, as well as Hispania (formerly Campos Meta) who will run their car for the first time at the Bahrain GP.

There are also many questions. How will the aforementioned Schumacher perform on his return? How will Jenson Button perform alongside new teammate Lewis Hamilton? What team will come out on top? Ferrari? McLaren? Mercedes? Red Bull? Can Force India finally become a force to be reckoned with?

But most importantly, how will Nico Hulkenberg, the next Michael Schumacher, perform?

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If we look at his track record, the signs of a decent showing are good.

2005 saw his debut in German Formula BMW. His first season was a very successful one, with Hulkenberg dominating the championship and winning the title comfortably.

He joined the German A1 Grand Prix Team for the 2006/07 season, and nine wins in his rookie season made him the most successful driver in A1GP history.

It meant he almost singlehandedly won Germany the A1 Grand Prix Championship with 128 points, 35 more than Team New Zealand.

In 2007 he switched to the Formula Three Euroseries with the ASM team that had taken Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta to the last two championships.

His first win came at the Norisring from 18th on the grid, he won again in the rain at Zandvoort and added a third at the Nurburgring.

And in 2008 Hulkenberg won the Formula Three Euroseries championship, amassing 76 of his total of 85 points during the feature races run on a Saturday, taking seven wins in the progress.

In 2009, he stormed to victory in the GP2 Series, becoming the first driver to clinch the championship without the need for a final round decider, as he won the title by 25 points from Vitaly Petrov.

Lastly, Hulkenberg is currently managed by Willi Weber, the long-time manager of Michael Schumacher.

Weber has gone on record saying that Hulkenberg would be ready for Formula One by 2008, and has praised Hülkenberg as an "unbelievable talent" and says he reminds him of Schumacher as a young driver.

So a top talent Nico Hulkenberg is indeed, and it will be most interesting to see how he performs at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend.

Could this latest talent off the German F1 production line be the next Michael Schumacher? Only time will tell.

Source: Wikipedia

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