Hulkenberg was in wrong engine mode at start of Eifel GP
The German was called up as a last-minute replacement for the unwell Lance Stroll, who got sick on Friday evening and couldn't keep up.
Hülkenberg, who had a coffee with friends in Germany on Saturday morning when he received a call from Racing Point, had to run to the racetrack and only drive for the first time in qualifying.
He qualified last due to lack of run, but drove well in the race to avoid trouble, improve the order and come home in an impressive eighth place.
He later said his only mistake was not putting the car in the correct mode for the start of the race.
When asked about some hectic changes to his steering wheel outside of the line and whether it was normal, Hulkenberg said to Sky: "No, this is not normal. I was in the wrong motor mode.
"You normally go to the running position after the burnouts, but there are two positions [on the dial]. And after the burnouts, I only did one, so I was in some kind of powerless mode.
"I noticed and had to turn it around quickly. It didn't cost me anything, but it just wasn't a good start, not a good journey!"
Hülkenberg: Eifel GP returns "wilder, crazier" than Silverstone
Despite this initial mistake, Hulkenberg drove with great maturity to avoid trouble and to get some good overtaking maneuvers if he increased the order.
"It was all very busy with people locking wheels," he said. "We said before the race that I wanted to stay out of anger and just stay away.
"Of course you don't want the race to end on the first lap before it even started because we knew we had a decent racing car and I was very careful along the way."
While Hülkenberg's appearance this year was his third outing for Racing Point after Sergio Perez was excluded from the coronavirus at Silverstone, the German is not sure what his next steps with the team will be.
"I don't know what's going to happen from now on," he said. "I think you just have to be ready in a way. It will be nice if we have some preparation time and participate in the weekend from an earlier stage."
When asked whether it would make sense for him to show up at every race, if there is a chance that he will be needed, Hulkenberg said: "I'm not sure if there are no real races, maybe yes, maybe no . Maybe we have to. " Think about it a little more. Let's see. "
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