Hulkenberg has been racing in F1 since 2010, and is considered a solid driver - despite never scoring a podium in the sport. The German driver signed for Sauber in 2013 on a two-year deal, but due to financial difficulties with the Swiss team; he had to break his own contract.
The now-Renault driver was in negotiations with numerous teams - including Ferrari - with Felipe Massa on the verge of joining Williams to conclude his Formula 1 career.
Kimi Raikkonen was chosen by Ferrari in the end after negotiations with both drivers. Raikkonen joined after impressing at Lotus.
"You never really know what to expect, and people who make these kinds of decisions do not tell you," Hulkenberg said on the official Formula 1 podcast. "There was some discussion, and I think there was a real possibility, but unfortunately it didn't happen."
After the Ferrari deal not going through, Hulkenberg joined Force India - where he spent three years - before joining Renault in 2017, where he has been ever since.