Nico Hulkenberg says it is not the right time for him to return to Williams despite the lack of options to remain on the Formula 1 grid next year.

Williams gave Hulkenberg his debut in F1 in 2010 and currently has a vacancy for next season, created by Robert Kubica’s plans to leave at the end of the year. Speaking before Alfa Romeo confirmed that Antonio Giovinazzi will remain with the team as part of an unchanged driver line-up – closing off Hulkenberg’s best opportunity for a race seat – the German said he doesn’t see himself at Williams, where Nicholas Latifi is favorite to partner George Russell.

“I think they need somebody else,” Hulkenberg said. “I think I’m not the right person, the right driver for them. Not (about money) at all, it’s just where I am in my career, where they are, and the timings, I just don’t think it’s the right timing for us. With all due respect to the team, and obviously I’ve raced for them and everything, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Hulkenberg, who had previously admitted that he was waiting on the Alfa Romeo decision, will now turn his attentions to other options but said he doesn’t view F1 as unfinished business if this does prove to be the end of his time on the grid.

“Of course I could (still achieve more),” he said. “But it doesn’t feel like unfinished business, because I’ve done my business, I’ve performed well over the years, very consistently, many times when it was on the verge or other people didn’t get hired or get a job, I still was wanted and hired and paid to drive. That also speaks for some quality.

“Of course I would like to have a different kind of record, more points and podiums and victories, but yeah, I know the reasons why, and why maybe things didn’t go that way. I’m at peace with myself there. I sleep well at night with my eyes closed. I’d love to continue racing, but if not, then life goes on.”

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