Nico Hulkenberg has apologized to Force India and Sergio Perez after hitting his teammate during yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The German driver attempted an overtake on Perez heading into the final corner, but instead made contact with him. Hulkenberg did come off worse, though, losing his front wing in the process and retiring from a race for the first time this season.
“It was not the best day in the office and I’m feeling very disappointed,” Hulkenberg admitted. “The track was drying out and I was quite close behind Checo when I made contact with him at the final corner. The previous lap he had taken a much wider line so I tried to overtake on the inside, but he took a tighter line and I couldn’t back out of the move.
“I made contact with his car, lost my front wing and went straight on into the barrier. It was my mistake and I’ve apologised to the team.
“It’s especially frustrating because there was a lot of potential in this race, but I guess it was one of those days when things didn’t go our way.”
Hulkenberg had scored points in every race so far this season until Hungary, but this incident sees him enter the summer break on something of a sour note.
Perez did manage to continue after the incident, but he too finished the race in the wall after a huge crash on the exit of the final corner.
“It’s a very disappointing end to our weekend, just when it looked like we could have scored some big points,” Perez said. “I went a little wide on the exit kerb of the final corner, lost the rear and that was it – I was in the wall. It was a very unfortunate end to our race and I feel sorry for the team because they deserved some points today.”
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.