Nico Hulkneberg has been deemed by many to be the best of the current F1 drivers not to get a chance to drive for a top team. However, this season he is being shown the way by his Mexican team mate Sergio Perez who has scored 64 points to the German’s 38, with just 3 races to go.
For the third time in the last four races, Hulkenberg was forced to retire following contact with another car. In the 2015 US GP in Austin, Nico tangled with Daniel Ricciardo and the subsequent damage forced him to retire from the race. This follows on track race incidents with Felipe Massa in Singapore and Marcus Ericsson in Russia, which ended with the same result, a DNF.
To many his move on Ricciardo in Austin appeared similar to that of Kimi Raikkonen on Valtteri Bottas in Sochi, a dive up the inside resulting in a collision. The Kimi move in Russia saw the Finn sanctioned, yet in Austin the stewards decided Hulkenberg’s broken front wing was the reason he was unable to make the move stick.
Nico Hulkenberg explained following the race, “We were looking really good and I wanted to get past Daniel as I was faster than him and he was holding me up, so I tried to make a move.
“Unfortunately that didn’t work and it was the end of my race. When I got back to the garage the team told me that there was an issue with the front wing – from contact earlier in the race – and it broke just when I was trying to make the move on Daniel [Ricciardo[.
“It’s a huge frustration to be out of the race when things were looking so promising,” Hulkenberg added. “Until the accident, it had been a very interesting race and it must have been a very entertaining for the fans as well. I struggled at first on the intermediate tyres, but as soon as I switched to slicks I started making good progress.”
Force India are 48 points behind Red Bull Racing in the F1 constructors’ standings. If Nico had delivered the points contribution this season that his team mate Perez has provided, the gap now would be just 22 points with three races to go.