Nico Hulkenberg has taken full blame for his crash with Force India teammate Sergio Perez that resulted in him retire from a race for the first time this season.
Hulkenberg, in his own words, is enjoying his best year in Formula 1, with points scoring results in first 10 races of the seasons, including four fine fifth place finishes. However, that run came to an end today when Hulkenberg hit Perez at the final corner, bringing a premature end to his race.
“The track was drying out and I was quite close behind Checo when I made contact with him at the final corner,” The German said after the race.
“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,’ he added.
Sergio Perez himself had a difficult afternoon which ended at the pit straight, not very far from where the pair clashed earlier in the race. The Mexican clipped the kerbs at the exit of final turn and his car, spinning around mercilessly before hitting the walls at the start/finish straight.
“It's a very disappointing end to our weekend, just when it looked like we could have scored some big points. 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,” Perez rued.
“Conditions were very difficult, the track was drying and improving, and it made you want to push to the limit, but there were some wet patches that could catch you out. We'll take the positive elements of this weekend and get back in the points in the next race,’ he added.
Team principal Vijay Mallya was unsurprisingly disappointed by the chain of events but accepted the day as a one of those one has in motor racing.
“It is disappointing to come away from this weekend with nothing, especially as the race was shaping up nicely for us,” the 58 year old said. “Both Checo and Nico were on course for a points finish, but it was not our day. Sometimes, this is how motorsport is.”
Mallya, however, took a moment to congratulate the team for a successful first half of the season in which they racked up more points than they did in the entire 2013 season and scored their first points since 2009.
“But a negative result must not detract from our great first half of the year because this is the first race in 2014 in which we have not scored points. Despite the missed opportunity, we remain in fifth place in the championship,’’ the Indian said.
“We have the summer break now, an occasion to regroup and come back stronger in Belgium and get ready for the final eight races.”