‘I was bracing for the impact’ – Hulkenberg recounts heart-stopping near-miss with Tsunoda in Montreal


Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg had a nasty fright at the tail-end of a frantic Canadian Grand Prix, with the German driver coming within millimetres of running into the spun VCARB car of Yuki Tsunoda.

Tsunoda was running in P9 among a gaggle of cars on Lap 66 of 70 in Montreal when he lost control of his VCARB machine and spun across the grass at Turn 8, coming to a stop just as Hulkenberg was accelerating out of Turn 9 – Hulkenberg’s Haas only just avoiding the stricken Japanese driver.

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“I just don’t know,” said Hulkenberg of the incident. “I tried to react, tried to stop and tried to avoid him, but it must have been by a few millimetres – it felt very, very close so I have closed my eyes already bracing for the impact but managed somehow luckily to escape it.”

‘I was bracing for the impact’ – Hulkenberg on just missing the spinning Tsunoda in final laps

That capped off a day of missed opportunities for Haas, the team having fitted extreme wets to both cars at the start of the race as the rest of the field took intermediate tyres, allowing Kevin Magnussen and Hulkenberg to run as high as P4 and P7 respectively early on – from P14 and P17 on the grid – before Hulkenberg ultimately finished out of the points in 11th to Magnussen’s 12th.

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Magnussen’s post-race mood, meanwhile, wasn’t helped by a slow stop when he changed to inters after his eyebrow-raising performance at the front of the field in the early laps.

“I didn’t feel like we got the best out of it today,” said Magnussen. “With all the opportunity that the race offered, we didn’t seem to capitalise on that, so that’s disappointing. So we’ll review it and try to understand it. Right now it’s all a bit blurry. There was lots of opportunity, that’s for sure, and we didn’t get any points so we've got to look into things.

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“We had one very slow and one medium-slow [pit stop],” he added, “and then I also think we pitted for inters off the full wets too early and had to take another inter, which felt unnecessary – but I have to look into it properly to make sure I’m right in saying that. Yeah, it felt like there was something coming there in the beginning of the race and nothing to show for it.”

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“The first 10 laps were going really well,” agreed Hulkenberg, “but then it dried out and all came undone again. But yeah, that was that. We knew about that risk – not risk, but that scenario. But a clean race, no mistakes at least.”

Haas remain seventh in the constructors’ championship, two points clear of Alpine, who netted a double-score in Montreal amid more intra-team angst between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.


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