Nico Hulkenberg draws unwanted attention for big ‘screw up’ at the Qatar Grand Prix

Michelle Foster
Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg pulls into the pits for a pit stop.

Nico Hulkenberg was penalised in Qatar for lining up in the wrong spot on the grid.

Tripped up by a “strange situation” of not having a car in the box in front of his in Qatar, Nico Hulkenberg admits he “screwed up” by slotting into the wrong spot.

Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix got underway with only 18 cars on the grid as Sergio Perez had to start from the pit lane after Red Bull broke parc ferme conditions, while Carlos Sainz was absent.

Ferrari announced in the build-up to the race that they found a leak in his SF-23’s fuel cell and, as there wasn’t enough time to repair it, Sainz would not be able to take the start.

Nico Hulkenberg: I screwed up

That tripped up Hulkenberg, who lined up in the Spaniard’s empty spot on the grid only to be given a 10-second penalty for the infringement.

“I screwed up,” he admitted to Sky Deutschland. “We don’t need to argue about it.

“It’s a strange situation when suddenly there’s no car in front of you. You’re used to catching up.

“Screwed up, plain and simple.”

Replays of the start showed the Haas driver frantically looking around him as he seemed to realise his mistake.

“I realised before I stopped but you can’t reverse and the damage was done, so that was obviously a big mistake from me,” he said. “That stopped our race before it even started.”

Worse yet, Haas had actually reminded him of this on the formation lap.

“Remember to leave the free space behind Norris in front of you,” his race engineer radioed to Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg finished the grand prix down in 16th place, his team boss Guenther Steiner ruing the German’s error.

“Nico starting in the wrong grid spot at the beginning didn’t help at all because once you get 10 seconds behind at the start of the race where we are, you have no chance. We fought but it wasn’t enough,” he said. recommends

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Former F1 driver turned Sky Sports’ pundit Nico Rosberg called it a “big mistake” from the experienced German.

“That’s really suboptimal if the box told him that beforehand. That’s a big mistake,” he said.

Haas sit ninth in the Constructors’ Championship on 12 points with the next race marking the team’s home event in Austin with the team set to bring a B-spec car to the track.

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