Nico Hulkenberg says his head has been turned by the safety improvements the Halo has made in Formula 1 following the scary crash he triggered at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix which landed him with a grid penalty for this weekend at Monza.

The Renault driver conceded he missed his braking point into the first turn at Spa-Francorchamps which saw him lock up and ram into the rear of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren which caused the Spaniard fly over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Alfa Romeo Sauber.

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After the accident tyre marks were evident on Leclerc’s Halo from when Alonso went over the top of the F1 rookie which led to key figures in the sport pointing towards the Halo serving its purpose.

Hulkenberg, one of the few staunch drivers against the Halo when it was introduced, accepts the safety device certainly helped Leclerc in Belgium but still has mixed feelings about it.

“I think it has proven pretty useful and a good device,” Hulkenberg said. “We can only speculate what would have happened without it but it looked pretty clear from the point of the tyre mark which were obviously all over the Halo and from point of view it has done a good job to keep the head safe.

“While I am still not a big fan of Halo I have to see the fact and admit that it does bring something to Formula 1 especially with the safety that we appreciate in the car. Divided, mixed feelings about it still but it is not down to me.”

Hulkenberg was slapped with a 10-place grid penalty for causing the first turn incident at Spa-Francorchamps and is bracing for a challenging Italian Grand Prix.

“It is not going to be an easy weekend carrying that penalty at Monza which is a difficult track for us,” he said. “We will approach this weekend with an open mind and want to deliver a good weekend, especially to have a good race on Sunday, regardless of where we start or how difficult it might seem.

“It is always fun to race around here so we look forward to getting back in the car tomorrow and start this weekend.”

Hulkenberg held on to his ‘best of the rest’ position of seventh place in the F1 world drivers’ championship - behind the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers - but Kevin Magnussen has closed to within three points of the Renault driver after finishing in eighth place in Belgium.

 

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