Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

Hulkenberg cleared over Ricciardo crash after front wing fault discovered

2015 United States Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg escaped punishment for his collision with Daniel Ricciardo in the United States Grand Prix after it was discovered a front wing failure had caused him to lose control.

The stewards rules no action would be taken on the incident “due to a mechanical failure on the car in the braking zone at turn 12.”

“The front wing became visibly dislodged at the braking zone affecting the stability of the car and the ability of the driver to effectively brake for the corner, resulting in the collision with car three.”

Hulkenberg said his race was “looking really good” until that moment. “I wanted to get past Daniel as I was faster than him and he was holding me up, so I tried to make a move. Unfortunately that didn’t work and it was the end of my race.”

“When I got back to the garage the team told me that there was an issue with the front wing – from contact earlier in the race – and it broke just when I was trying to make the move on Daniel.”

“It’s a huge frustration to be out of the race when things were looking so promising,” Hulkenberg added. “Until the accident, it had been a very interesting race and it must have been a very entertaining for the fans as well. I struggled at first on the intermediate tyres, but as soon as I switched to slicks I started making good progress.”

Hulkenberg has retired from three of the last four races due to contact. He tangled with Felipe Massa in Singapore and Marcus Ericsson in Russia.

“It’s a shame as we could have scored a lot of points today,” he said. “These last two races haven’t been the best for me, but that’s how racing goes sometimes.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Hulkenberg cleared over Ricciardo crash after front wing fault discovered”

  1. I don’t often credit Sky, but Brundle called it shortly after the incident after seeing a replay.

    Well spotted MB!

  2. Oh. I retract what I said, that he’s been terrible the last three races. Make it just two of the three. Whatever the case, he needs to bring some momentum back for the last races.

  3. Hulk was beed bad in these last couple of races, and to make things even worse, Perez has been splendid.

    It’s a good pairing at Force India, but after seeing the standings, you wonder, where would they be if Nico had finished races instead of tangling with rivals since Hungary.

    1. This is the 2nd race where his front wing just dropped since Hungary. Both times he was doing better than his teammate.

  4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    26th October 2015, 0:00

    Nico needs to get it together for the last 3 races, he could of scored a podium today.

  5. I wonder if that’s the real reason or just a handy excuse, he did take a dive down the wet side of the track…

    1. If you look carefully at the footage, you can see his wing going off a few seconds before the incident @george, I think Brundle even spotted that with the first replay of it yesterday

    2. @george

      or just a handy excuse

      Which the stewards fell for? Not likely.

    3. @keithcollantine @bascb
      I don’t doubt the team sent the stewards some graphs showing that he had less downforce at that point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he wouldn’t have smashed into the side of Ricciardo anyway. He does have form in that area.

  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th October 2015, 2:19

    Wow Steve Matchett on NBC Sports caught that and pointed it out during the race! That guy has X ray vision when it comes to failures:-)

  7. Damn, when you’re trying to overtake someone and then, suddenly a wing breaks… talk about a bad luck. And Hulk has had his own share of that in the last races with those crashes with Massa and Ericsson.

  8. Hulkenberg lost a lot of points this season, bad luck maybe but he needs to complete his races in the remaining events. He had the pace yesterday to get a good result, maybe even a podium.

  9. Hulk was charging up real fast but what an unfortunate situation with the wings. He would’ve passed Ric sooner or later.

  10. Hulkenberg just can’t seem to get a break. Unless it’s the front wing mounting …

  11. Bad luck also for Riccardo – something that Hulkenberg and all the comments seem to have overlooked!

  12. I can’t help but notice the failure is not because factory defect, but because a contact he made earlier. So even though its unintentional, it’s all because things he set himself. In the end, he not showing the good driving for all the hype that fans crediting him for. Maybe because he too occupied with the pressure to show results after LeMans win?

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th October 2015, 13:08

    @sonicslv he seems not to do well at the end of the season – it’s possible that his disappointment gets the better of him or reality finally kicks in. It’s really sad because I definitely believe that he deserves a better seat.

    1. @freelittlebirds
      He’s done nothing to justify being promoted to a top team.
      A good rookie year followed by years of average performances aren’t an indication that he’s anything special. Perez has performed far better this season, and earned more podiums than Nico has managed since he joined F1.
      Why people continue to rate him so highly is a mystery to me, he gets involved in too many accidents and looks distinctly average in an F1 car.

      1. On the other contrary: his rookie season was ‘meh’ but he impressed me in following years. He also beat Perez fair and square last year.

  14. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th October 2015, 14:09

    @beneboy He’s outqualified his teammate 10-2 even this season.

    Perez is a great midfield driver but his podiums have been the luckiest podiums – Malaysia 2012 is easily one a contender for luckiest podium as he almost passed no one and he just changed tyres at the right time. Sochi was a dream come true podium!

    Nico has been unlucky in picking teams and his one lucky break (the LeMans victory) has been followed up by his worst luck.

    However, it’s true that Nico seems to underperform at the end of the season which I believe is because of the emotional toll that the rejections have and while it can be justified, it has cost him dearly. After all, I doubt Vettel would have fantastic season endings if he was driving for Force India by now.

    He has to put that behind him and he has to accept that he has to stay at Force India like Perez has who admitted that he felt his F1 career was over after McLaren dropped him. Nico has to let his driving do the talking (not the last 3 races) and let the top teams come to him and ask him to take a seat. If it’s meant to happen, it will! He can’t force it. He just has to drive his best and focus on that. His agent can do his own thing and the 2 don’t need to even speak unless an offer is on the table.

    The car he’s driving is capable of good positions and he just needs to do that over the next 3 races and next year. If F1 doesn’t pan out, then he can strut his stuff in WEC for many years to come.

    1. @freelittlebirds For me Perez driving is an art, something you rarely seen. all his podiums is not by luck but by hard work. Remember he can change the tires at the right time because he’s the only one that can make those kind of strategy work. And it’s not isolated incident too, he doing it nearly every race. Even if you say Sochi was lucky, considering Force India is at best the 5th best team, finished 5th also a major achievement when theoretically your car can only bring you to 9th.

      Which bring us back to Hulkenberg. Saying he out qualified teammates is not really useful when he never actually deliver in the race. Rosberg won the qualifying battle last year, doesn’t mean he is better F1 driver than Hamilton. Leading 90% of the race then falling back is worse than lapped at 90% of the race but somehow wins it. A great driver will bring results against the odds, just like Perez occasionally do. If the excuse is “always bad luck”, “the car is not great”, “..but he wins (something other than the race result) battle against his teammate” or something like those, then he’s not at the same league as the champions.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        26th October 2015, 15:55

        @sonicslv Perez’s driving style is an art and if F1 was about keeping the tyres on the longest while going the fastest, Perez would be one of the top drivers. However, very few races require this kind of decision-making and tyre management and in the end speed is more important which is where Hulkenberg has a commanding advantage over Perez.

        To say that Hulkenberg ‘never actually delivers in the race’ is to only look at Hulk’s past 3 races and in that regard you might be right. But keep in mind that before the incidents, Hulk was doing pretty well.

        At Hungary, his front wing exploded
        At SPA his car didn’t start
        At Singapore, the timing with Massa was crazy bad luck (bad decision from both drivers but you have 0.0001 seconds to make it and they both botched it)

        So Perez is doing better but the question is how well could Hulkenberg do with that car cause he’s faster and better, that there’s no doubt about except in Perez’s mother’s mind;-)

        1. @freelittlebirds I’m not only looking at the last 3 races. But throughout his whole F1 career Hulkenberg just fails to lived up to the hype. The best race he has so far in F1 arguably is Brazil 2012 and he actually destroyed that race too with his collision with Hamilton. For me, so far he is a dissapointment in F1, especially when other driver debuting about the same time as him already proven themselves (Perez and Grosjean) or out of F1 (even Petrov already got a podium finish).

          I know many fans liked him and feel he deserved better car but fact is he never deliver above expectations in F1 (while another man in same car did). And before F1 he actually drives for top teams, including the LeMans where Porsche is obviously the best car there. I don’t mean it’s all because the car, but probably he is not that good as you think he is. Also, there’s a reason why no top team ever approach him, especially when top teams never compromise if they see a good driver.

    2. @freelittlebirds
      So he’s a good over a single lap, but his race pace and wheel to wheel skills aren’t up to scratch. And even though he regularly out qualifies his team mate, he often gets beaten by him.
      Which only reinforces my belief that he’s not good enough to drive for a top team. Sebastian spent time in a car much worse than the Force India, yet never gave up or disappeared come the end of the season.
      Claiming Sergio is just lucky got old long ago, he’s actually very good at looking after his tyres and putting himself into positions where he can take advantage when those in front drop out. That’s not luck, it’s good driving.

      I think @sonicslv nailed it with his reply.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th October 2015, 14:10

    CORRECTION – He’s outqualified his teammate 2-to-1. Not sure where the 10-2 came from:-)

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th October 2015, 16:02

    @beneboy you need examples when you say beaten by him – of course Perez will beat him, when his car won’t start or his wing explodes twice… 7 billion people would tie Hulkenberg when he’s not racing:-) That doesn’t mean they are equal or better…

    You are focusing on a few races. I even conceded that Hulkenberg doesn’t do well at the end of the seasons and I think when you are scrambling to get a seat and get rejected, I’m sure it has some impact on anyone.

    You have to understand Hulkenberg cleans up in every category he’s been in like Vettel and Hamilton. Perez is a great driver and I don’t want to say anything disparaging about him but he cannot clean up like Hulkenberg has done in the past. In fact, the worst thing for Hulkenberg is his current state where he can’t be given a chance to clean up – this is a bad situation because even Lionel Messi would become a worse player if he played for Celta Vigo as opposed to Barcelona. Confidence is so important for athletes – ask Vettel if you are in doubt. You can literally screw yourself up a million ways when you put yourself in a bad spot mentally…

    1. @freelittlebirds
      I’m focusing on the season as a whole, and the fact that Sergio is sixteen points ahead.
      I don’t think Sergio is a great driver, which only strengthens the argument against Nico being one.
      There’s a good reason he keeps getting rejected, the other teams have a wealth of data on the drivers, and none of it shows Nico being anything other than average in F1.
      Lots of drivers have been good in other categories, yet failed in F1, and I suspect that’s what will be said of Nico when he moves on to something else. Good driver, but nothing special.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        26th October 2015, 18:04

        @beneboy Sergio is 26 points ahead and he got 25 of those in the last 2 races. If you look at the past 2 races as a career, Perez puts Fangio to shame and Hulkenberg is the worst driver in the history of F1:-)

        He’s very unlucky that he’s had the issues since the introduction of the VJM08B which is a point-scoring car. 2 maybe were his fault but the rest were not.

        And about cleaning up, very few people have cleaned the way Vettel, Hamilton and Hulkenberg have in racing history.

        Then you look at his career:

        2014 – Beat Perez 96-59
        2013 – Beat Guttierrez 51-6
        2012 – Beat DiResta 63-46
        2011 – Test Driver
        2010 – Lost 47-22 to Barrichello

        He’s only lost once and he’s beaten some guys who beat other great drivers.

        1. And given how good he was last year, he will probably have more points than Perez in the 2014-2015 period at the end of the year.

  17. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th October 2015, 18:31

    @paeschli I don’t think he can make up a 26 point deficit in 3 races (even if Perez got those in 2 races). He might beat Perez in the last 3 races but that won’t make up. He’ll rue Spa, Hungary and the other 2 races but I think it’s a wake-up call for him.

  18. I am just happy that he has a seat for next year.

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