Hulkenberg’s machine shed its front left wheel at Turn 10 towards the end of the Q2, bringing out the red flags and preventing several drivers from improving their times. The German finished the session in 10th place, though he could take no part in Q3 as his car had already stopped out on circuit.
“To be honest I don’t know what happened," said Hulkenberg, whose team are investigating the cause. "We all saw that the wheel came off, but why and how, I don’t know. It was attached properly when we left the garage because everything felt normal. It didn’t feel loose and there was no indication from the steering.
"When it came off, it happened suddenly, but I was at low speed and could park the car quickly and safely. It’s disappointing because we’ve been competitive here this weekend and I would have liked to be out there during Q3."
Hulkenberg's penalty drops him from 10th to 13th on the grid, promoting Williams’ Felipe Massa to 10th and the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button to 11th and 12th respectively.