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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg hits out at Alonso's Melbourne defence

George Russell suffered a crash on the penultimate lap of the Australian Grand Prix amid a battle with Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Hulkenberg Australia
To news overview © XPBimages

Nico Hulkenberg has questioned Fernando Alonso’s defence on George Russell at the Australian Grand Prix which resulted in a crash for the Mercedes driver.

Russell hit the barrier on his penultimate lap of the race in Melbourne while chasing Alonso for sixth place.

The stewards issued Alonso with a 20-second penalty or “potentially dangerous” driving after the Spaniard lifted off approaching the corner, causing Russell to lose grip and hit the barrier.

Hulkenberg has asserted he was left unimpressed by the tactic after Russell was spat back onto the racing line.

“When I saw it all I wasn’t very impressed with Fernando's tactics there to be honest,” Hulkenberg told media including RacingNews365.

“Melbourne, after all, it's kind of a street circuit, it's quite narrow there, we approach that corner with 260, 270 clicks [and] a blind exit.

“If, for whatever reason, the flag system or someone is late, and one of us would have T-boned George, the outcome and the way he feels might have also been quite different.

“Whilst that tactic is quite a common one in Formula 1, in that particular corner with that speed, with a blind exit, I think it's the wrong corner to do it and produced quite a dangerous situation.”

Hulkenberg expects talks over corner safety

Hulkenberg also called out an inconsistency in Alonso’s comments immediately after the incident.

“What I also don't understand is right after, on the radio, he's talking about throttle issues – like throttle stuck, or not stuck,” said the Haas driver.

“But then later on, he doesn't talk about it anymore, he just talks about that it's standard procedure and tactic.

“So that doesn't align and he seems to have changed his opinion, there. But like I said, I wasn't very impressed with that personally.”

Albert Park’s Turn 6 has increased in speed in recent years following a revamp to that section of track ahead of the sport’s return to the circuit in 2022.

Hulkenberg believes it was the wrong corner for Alonso to attempt his strategy due to its recent history of drivers being propelled back onto the racing line after hitting the wall.

“I think it's the wrong speed range, the wrong corner, and I think also the shift or the change in deceleration was quite a big delta," added Hulkenberg.

“It’s easy to overreact and lose the rear in the car like it happened to George.

“But we've seen that corner last year, also with Alex who crashed there, that barrier puts a car back on the circuit, which we need to look at that and change something there for the future.

“That’s really not good when you come around the corner, and you have a car in the middle of the track.”

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