Steiner says Hulkenberg put no one at risk after Haas lose front-row start to penalty

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner defended Nico Hulkenberg after his penalty cost the team its first front row start for a grand prix.

Hulkenberg took advantage of rainy conditions in qualifying to claim second on the grid for today’s Canadian Grand Prix. However the stewards subsequently discovered he had not slowed sufficiently when red flags were shown during Q3, and gave him a three-place grid penalty.

Steiner said Hulkenberg’s penalty doesn’t diminish his and the team’s achievement, and insisted Hulkenberg hadn’t put anyone in danger with his error. Hulkenberg’s radio messages indicated he had been confused over how slowly he was supposed to be driving after the red flags were shown.

“The penalty tonight shouldn’t take anything away from the team and what we did,” said Steiner. “We’re second in our minds.

“Yes, there was a mistake, there was too much speed, but we’ve also to consider there was never, ever, anybody put in any danger because Nico was always on his own.”

Steiner was reprimanded by the stewards at the previous round in Spain for describing them as “laymen” after penalising Hulkenberg for another incident in Monaco. He made it clear he did not dispute Hulkenberg had broken the rules on this occasion.

“Obviously it’s against the rules, but it was a mistake, it didn’t create any danger,” said Steiner. “We got the penalty, we have to take it.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“We’ll go back and try to do the best we can tomorrow. One day maybe lady luck will come to us.”

Hulkenberg was one of few drivers who managed to set two laps as rain fell at the beginning of Q3, having left the pits immediately after the session began. Steiner said he was “in the right place at the right time.”

“We obviously need to see what our race pace looks like tomorrow but hopefully we can bring some points home,” Steiner added.

Hulkenberg’s penalty leaves him fifth on the grid instead of second, which means the team has lost what would have been its best starting position for a grand prix. Kevin Magnussen started fourth at the Miami Grand Prix three races ago.

Magnussen claimed pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race last year. However he lost seven places from his starting position and started the grand prix from eighth.

Hulkenberg’s radio from the red flag in Q3

GannonRed flag, need to be plus on delta time, plus on delta time.
GannonOkay that time counted, very good lap, currently P2. Okay so Piastri… go to mode slow, just charge on. Piastri crashed exit of seven. Piastri is on the left, exit of seven, so watch for Piastri.
HulkenbergIt’s the beeping guys [driving me] nuts here, I’m to be negative or positive?
GannonYou should be positive now, plus, so you need to slow down. Slow down and also it’s double yellow here watch for Piastri here, this is where Piastri crashed.
HulkenbergNo, I think I’m going too slow, we need to go faster. I don’t know you tell me.
GannonOkay I’ll just check with Mike. To get out of this mode press ‘in’.
HulkenbergIs this too fast or too slow? Tell me.
GannonIt’s too fast. Too fast. Because it’s a red flag.
GannonOkay so box now, Nico, box now.

Become a RaceFans Supporter

RaceFans is run thanks in part to the generous support of its readers. By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the same in whichever currency you use) you can help cover the costs of creating, hosting and developing RaceFans today and in the future.

Become a RaceFans Supporter today and browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Canadian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Steiner says Hulkenberg put no one at risk after Haas lose front-row start to penalty”

  1. Rules, Günther. They are there to be followed.

    Trying to sell supposedly not having endangered anyone as a positive is nauseating.

    1. aaron blackman
      18th June 2023, 14:47

      The rules are stupid. Let’s be frank. This is all about keeping the mid teams in the middle table. Hülkenberg would’ve upset that like Ocon did at Monaco. It’s ridiculous that Sainz, who impeded teo drivers on their qualifying lap, got the same penalty as Hülkenberg. Now that’s ridiculous. It ain’t conspiracy. Small teams get punished for nothing. Big teams can do egregious things and get away with it. There’s your rules.

      1. Sorry but no. Flag rules are the basics in motorsport, from the very first karting race onwards. Speeding under red flag conditions is a slam dunk penalty.
        The fact he got a lesser penalty than the standard one already is a huge concession.

  2. Maybe they could make it simple for all drivers/teams? Red flag = hit pit limiter, return to pit, be prepared to stop

  3. If the rulebook said “drivers must not put anyone at risk” then yes, what Gunther says would make sense. But that’s not the rule…

  4. Thank goodness the Fun Police acted swiftly to quash this little bit of feel-good magic. People would think this was some of entertainment business going on here, what with all the fun people have been having of late. Anyway, glad we managed to return to what everyone really come to F1 to see.. officious and militant enforcement of the big book of rules. Well done all involved.

    1. Red flag situations cannot be open to interpretation. Nor yellow flags or whatever.

    2. They have a habit of doing that, don’t they? One of the most outrageous was right here in canada in 2019, mercedes was coming from a run of I don’t know how many wins, finally vettel had a good race, kept hamilton behind, made a mistake, came back on track and didn’t let him past, kept him behind all race, but 5 sec penalty, the team that won 10 races in a row or whatever must win more! I really liked when vettel swapped the numbers once he parked the car to indicate he had won, and I’m no vettel fan at all.

Comments are closed.