Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Nico Hulkenberg Admits he Must ‘Face the Consequences’ of Grid Penalty

Nico Hulkenberg held his hands up after qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix, with the German having been awarded a three-place grid penalty for speeding under red flag conditions.

Hulkenberg enjoyed an unbelievable qualifying session in very mixed conditions at the Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve, with him having thrived when the rain arrived towards the end of the second part of qualifying. Hulkenberg comfortably made it into the top-ten shootout, where he dramatically put his VF-23 on the front row. He timed his best lap to perfection, as a red flag was flown six seconds after he completed his lap.

A crash in the second sector for Oscar Piastri resulted in a red flag being required, something which saw a stoppage of a few minutes. With the rain having become heavier, nobody was able to improve once the session resumed, resulting in Hulkenberg ending the session second. The result provisionally marked MoneyGram Haas F1 Team‘s best ever grid position for an actual race, until it was agonisingly taken away from him.

Hulkenberg was awarded a three-place grid penalty for speeding whilst the red flags were flown for Piastri’s crash, something he admitted he must “face the consequences” of. As a result, the German will actually start from fifth, whilst Fernando Alonso has inherited a front row start.

With Haas not boasting the best race pace, Hulkenberg doesn’t think the penalty has really impacted what he’s capable of on Sunday.

“Obviously the ending of the day is not quite as good as it was earlier, that’s obviously a pity and it’s a shame not to be staring on the front row. We have to face the consequences with that. I think in terms of our race tomorrow it doesn’t really change anything – the approach is the same and it won’t impact or harm the outcome. We’ll prepare as usual and race hard tomorrow.”

“We need to see where we could have done better” – Kevin Magnussen

On the other side of the Haas garage, Kevin Magnussen was unable to make it into the top-ten shootout, due to being in the pits whilst the circuit was dry.

A dry line appeared briefly during Q2, something which saw several drivers quickly complete a lap on the Soft compound in a bid to make Q3. That was seemingly the right strategy, with Magnussen having been in the pits whilst the track was in a state where the Softs could be used. With the rain having returned towards the end of Q2, it made it impossible for anybody to improve as the dry line disappeared.

As a result of being eliminated in Q2, Magnussen will start Sunday’s race from thirteenth, despite having qualified fourteenth. The Danish driver has been promoted a place following a three-place grid penalty for Lance Stroll, after the Canadian impeded Esteban Ocon. Magnussen recognises that his side of the garage need to investigate “where we could have done better”, due to believing that a better starting position was possible.

“We were in the pits still when the track was dry – something you want to maximise, but then we were out of Q2. We’d been looking good in the conditions, but we need to see where we could have done better. We really looked like we had a good chance in this qualifying – we were really pumped after FP3. 

Credit: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images