According to the German, a start on the grid and a sprint to the finish present too many risks, with the result that riders who have worked hard to reach top positions in the closing laps have too much to lose.
After the red flag caused by Alex Albon’s crash at Turn 6, the Melbourne race was stopped for the second time with three laps to go after Hulkenberg’s teammate Kevin Magnussen hit the wall at Turn 2 leaving debris on the track.
After the formation lap, the grid was ready for a two-lap sprint to the checkered flag. However, following a series of first corner incidents, the race was red-flagged again, with Hulkenberg having moved up to fourth at the time.
A lengthy delay ensued which resulted in a debate over grid positions for the final lap behind the Safety Car. Eventually the FIA decided to use the previous starting order, leaving Hulkenberg in seventh position. His team lodged a protest, claiming that he should have been sixth if the order had been taken by the Safety Car two lines before turn 1, but the protest was rejected by the marshals.
Hulkenberg remained in the cockpit throughout and said he was reminded of his victorious 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche in 2015 as he spent “nearly three hours in the cockpit”.
Regarding the restart from the grid, he said: “It’s always an emotion, it’s an element of fun, but as a driver and for the teams it’s a rather strange feeling to have.”
“You’ve worked the whole race, you only have a couple of laps left and then you have to start a whole race again.”
“There are two sides to the coin. I think there will be many discussions to review.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14 lead the race on the restart
Foto di: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images
“There was one Aston (Fernando Alonso) who spun, but they were lucky to be able to get back into the race.”
“But obviously it’s a nightmare scenario for a driver. You have a good race, you’re in a good position. There’s a red flag, you start again, you get hit by someone, not your mistake. And the whole weekend is swept away”.
“So I think this is a bit of an artificial element. And I’m not sure if this is the DNA I’ve known from F1. I think there will be a bit of discussion about that.”
Hulkenberg also predicted that the way the starting order was determined when the race was run behind the Safety Car would cause a big discussion. “I think there is some confusion, to say the least, as to why it took so long for the final restart, which wasn’t ideal,” he added.