SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg had a Singapore Grand Prix to forget on Sunday when the German crashed out after 12 laps following a collision with Felipe Massa’s Williams and was immediately given a grid penalty for the next race.
Hulkenberg started in 11th place and had made his first pit stop at the Marina Bay Street Circuit but was broadsided by the Brazilian, who was exiting the pitlane at high speed after making his first tyre change.
The German’s car was briefly airborne before it slammed into the barriers at Turn Three while Massa was able to continue despite suffering damage to his bodywork and front wing but was later forced to retire on the 31st lap.
“I saw him coming out of the pitlane but afterwards I knew I was in front. And then I got hit in the back,” Hulkenberg told reporters.
Hulkenberg, 11th in the standings on 30 points going into the race, was unable to continue and stewards investigated the incident as the German made his way back to the paddock on foot.
He was deemed to be at fault for the collision with stewards saying he “should have left Massa racing room” and given a three-grid-position penalty for next week’s Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.
“I was on the racing line ahead going into Turn Three and he’s (Massa) coming out of the pits and touches me on the back,” Hulkenberg said, explaining how he saw the incident.
“A bit strange also and I don’t understand why the penalty’s given right away and why they didn’t listen to what the different views were. I’ll go back and speak to the team.”
Massa, for his part, felt the penalty was justified.
“Well, I think honestly the penalty is correct,” the Brazilian said. “I was inside. He just turned the car over my car... I couldn’t do anything. For sure, what he did was not correct.”
Editing by Martyn Herman