Nico Hulkenberg was the big surprise in the classification and set the second fastest time at the Canadian Grand Prix. But the German would only start fifth, after being penalized for not respecting the minimum lap time during a red flag, in the final minutes of qualifying.
Hulkenberg was lucky. He managed to finish the second fast lap in a row, with the tires already well warmed up, seconds before an accident with Oscar Piastri caused a red flag, unlike the vast majority of drivers. He continued accelerating, attempting another fast lap, when he received information on his steering wheel that there was a red flag and that he had to respect the delta, that is, there was a minimum and maximum lap time that both drivers had to follow. that moment.
While Hulkenberg was accelerating, he was soon over 1s5 faster than he should have been at that point. This means that he had to slow down a lot. At that moment, it began to receive an audible signal, which is part of the FIA’s driver warning system. But there was a mistake in his communication with his engineer. Hulkenberg wondered if he was over or was just under the time he was supposed to follow. And track engineer Gary Gannon wouldn’t give him a definitive answer.
“This noise is driving me crazy,” Hulkenberg asked. “Do I need to be lower or higher?” The engineer replied, “You have to be positive, you have to slow down.” But the pilot asked again whether he should slow down or increase the speed, and heard no reply for a few seconds. Afterwards, Gannon said “You’re too fast, too fast. It’s a red flag.”
In his defence, Hulkenberg told the stewards that he kept his distance from the car in front of him, Esteban Ocon, for the rest of the lap. But this made his punishment less than what might be normal. According to the regulations, since this is a serious safety issue, the pilot may lose 10 jobs. But precisely because he stayed behind Ocon, the agents only gave him three places of punishment.
A red flag indicates a car in a dangerous position or the presence of guards on the track. For this reason, it is critical that pilots slow down immediately.
With Hulkenberg penalized, Fernando Alonso inherits second place. Lewis Hamilton will be third and George Russell fourth on the grid for the race, which starts at 3pm Sunday, Brasilia time. Max Verstappen takes pole position in a race that could equal Ayrton Senna’s 41st F1 win.
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