Belgian GP: Nico Hulkenberg given Monza grid penalty for Fernando Alonso crash

Virginia Santiago
August 28, 2018

Alonso's auto was destroyed and Leclerc's Sauber likewise.

"First I saw was in the mirror - I saw in the mirror Nico with all four tyres locked, missed the breaking point and then I felt the impact", Alonso said of the accident.

"Definitely, the halo probably helped today", Leclerc told the media when asked about the crash, while Fernando Alonso called the incident "good proof" of the efficacy of the system, going on to compare the crash to the 2012 first-lap incident at Spa caused by Romain Grosjean.

As the smoke and dust settled, and the wrecked cars were removed from the track as the safety auto was deployed, it became obvious that thirteen races into the season the controversial Halo device had proved its worth.

The halo was introduced in a bid to protect drivers' heads from flying debris, and appears to have done its job on Sunday. "It will save lives", tweeted 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg after seeing the images.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff threatened to take a chainsaw to the Halo before the season started, saying he was "not impressed with the whole thing".

"But having saved Charles from harm and injury makes it all worth it".

Speaking to Sky F1 immediately after the punishment was confirmed, a contrite Hulkenberg said: "I basically misjudged the grip level".

"What is clear is the significant tire marks on the chassis and the halo", FIA race director Charlie Whiting said. "Looks like it's had a fairly hefty whack, though".

"It doesn't take much imagination to think that the tyre marks would have actually been on Charles' head".

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"It would have been a miracle if they weren't, had the Halo not been there. A misjudgement from my bad, my mistake and it doesn't look very good".

Bianchi's accident at Suzuka occurred at the end of the race in rainy, gloomy conditions, when his Marussia team auto slid off the track and ploughed into a crane picking up the Sauber of German driver Adrian Sutil, who had crashed at the same spot one lap earlier. Today it went wrong quite badly.

Alonso, who was also sent over another vehicle in a similar incident at Spa involving Romain Grosjean in 2012, said Hulkenberg had made a "big mistake".

Grosjean was fined and handed a one-race ban as a result.

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