Nico Hulkenberg says he’s unsure if the Halo blocked a quick extraction from his Renault after he flipped over after feeling "helpless" in a scary lap one crash at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The German driver clashed wheels with Romain Grosjean’s Haas which sent him into two rolls before his Renault stopped upside down resting on the track barrier at Turn 9.

Hulkenberg was heard over team radio reporting he was ok but was worried about a fire starting on his engine while he was still in his F1 car.

The F1 track marshals quickly put out the fire on Hulkenberg’s car before righting his Renault back on to its wheels to allow the German couple get out of his cockpit.

With the crash being the first high-profile flip with a Halo-equipped F1 car Hulkenberg felt it wasn’t clear if the safety device stopped him from getting out the car without assistance.

“I don’t know to be honest at the point if the Halo blocked me or not,” Hulkenberg told Sky Sports F1. “On the right I had the barrier anyway and there was a very small gap.

“Also when you are upside down it is not so easy to find all the buttons and all the things because everything feels very different. That was the first time for me having the car on the roof so I was sitting tight waiting for the marshals and they reacted very quickly and obviously got me out.”

After a check over and monitoring at the FIA medical centre, Hulkenberg was given the all-clear and admitted he felt shaken up by the crash.

“It was not the most comfortable situation to be in,” he said later to Channel 4. “There was also a little barbeque at the back so I just wanted to get out but you feel pretty helpless in that situation but the marshals did a good job.”

Fernando Alonso - An F1 Career In Pictures

CrashTV: 
Video Thumbnail: 

Hulkenberg says the accident was triggered by not seeing Grosjean on the track fighting for the corner, having thought the Haas driver had gone off track, but felt it was a racing incident which required no further action.

“I am all fine it is just the normal disappointment when you are out on lap one of the race but it is obviously not what I was looking for,” he said. “Such a long build-up and everyone puts in the hard work over the weekend and so to be out on lap one like this with all the damage on the car. I just feel bad. It is disappointing but we have to put it down as a racing incident.

“I was racing Romain into Turn 8 and we both locked up, I went really wide and he went even wider and I though he ran off the track so I thought I had Turn 9 to myself. So I went to take the apex but obviously he was still there so we made contact and then the rest we’ve seen. A couple of flips which looks spectacular but nothing really dramatic.”

Despite failing to finish in Abu Dhabi, Hulkenberg held on to his 'best of the rest' title with seventh place in the F1 drivers' world championship - the top finisher outside of the top three teams.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...