Hulkenberg saw a 'realistic opportunity' to join Ferrari in 2014

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Nico Hulkenberg does believe he had a "realistic chance" of joining Ferrari in 2014.

With Felipe Massa heading to Williams, the German was considered a favourite to replace the Brazilian only for Kimi Raikkonen to return for the second time.

At the time, it was believed a contract had been drawn up and just lacked the signatures, however, the current Renault driver doesn't know if that was the case.

"You never know with these things and the people that make the decisions they don't tell you," Hulkenberg said in the latest Beyond the Grid podcast. "[Maybe] it was like an inch, a bee sting, I really don't know how.

"There were definitely some talks and I think there was a realistic opportunity for quite a decent period of time but then, unfortunately, in the end, it fell through."

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That was the closest Nico came to securing a top seat in F1, with the 10-year veteran of the grid always considered as a driver who has never had the chance to fulfil his potential.

He holds the record for most Grand Prix starts without a podium at 165, but has come close on numerous occasions with three fourth-place finishes and most will remember him leading the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix before colliding with Lewis Hamilton.

As for why his move to Ferrari failed, it was suggested his would-be teammate Fernando Alonso had a role to play.

While Hulkenberg says he asked the Spaniard about that later in his career, he remains curious as to whether that was the case.

"With Fernando you can never be totally sure what he says and what he actually means [are the same], you know?" he said.

"I think he likes the games sometimes so I'm not really sure if he was supporting it or not to be honest and now anyway it's in the past."