The Renault driver said he “misjudged” his braking point at the start and lost downforce from running in the slipstream of other cars.
“It’s just incredible, to climb out again on lap one, how sensitive these cars are with aerodynamics. When you have a few cars that bunch up in front of you, how much grip and loads you lose.
“When I hit the brakes obviously I instantly locked up the front wheel and just was sliding into Fernando [Alonso]. Probably misjudged a bit on my side. A bit too late on the brakes. A bit too keen.
“Frustrating, obviously, for him, for Charles [Leclerc] as well, and also for myself.”
As well as eliminated Alonso and Leclerc on the spot, Alonso’s car damaged Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull which in turn hit Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Both also later retired.
Alonso, who was involved in a similar crash six years ago, sharply criticised Hulkenberg’s driving. The McLaren driver said F1 competitors “should have higher level to race in this series.”
“I am disappointed,” he added. “We had a good start. there were a couple of possibilities into turn one.
“You play cautious, you brake in the same point, you look in the mirror and you see the guys behind that they think this is the last corner of the championships.
“Those kind of mistakes, the starts with high consequences, I think they should be reviewed a little bit harder.”
The stewards are investigating the incident.
This article will be updated.
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