Nico Hulkenberg tells rival drivers to ‘pay some attention’

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg has hit out at some of his Formula 1 rivals following recurring issues.

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg has addressed the recurring problem of drivers impeding their rivals during qualifying sessions, suggesting that the issue arises from varying levels of attention paid by different drivers. 

Hulkenberg’s comments came in response to recent penalties issued for impeding incidents, as multiple drivers found themselves hindered by competitors on their flying laps.

While acknowledging that this problem has persisted over time, Hulkenberg believes that some drivers are more attentive to traffic than others, resulting in the frequent occurrence of such incidents.

“I think it’s not just now a problem, it’s always been a problem – sometimes more, sometimes less,” Hulkenberg responded when questioned by reporters. 

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He further emphasised that the root cause lies in the divergent levels of attention drivers allocate to their surroundings. 

Hulkenberg recognized the reliance on engineers, particularly on street circuits where visibility is limited, but he pointed out that on tracks like Barcelona or Austria with long straights, drivers have mirrors at their disposal. 

He attributed the discrepancy in impeding incidents to varying usage of mirrors among drivers and their differing tendencies to encounter trouble. Hulkenberg posited that this issue is, to a certain extent, a man-made problem.

Candidly, Hulkenberg emphasised the need for drivers to take personal responsibility rather than solely relying on their team’s guidance. 

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While acknowledging the crucial role of the engineering staff, Hulkenberg stressed the importance of drivers actively monitoring their mirrors and being vigilant of their surroundings. He urged his fellow drivers to pay attention and avoid complacency during qualifying sessions, as neglecting to do so could have significant consequences for themselves and their rivals.

“I think the truth is there some people who pay more attention than others. Yes, we rely on the engineers – especially on street circuits where it’s blind, you don’t see what’s going on – but in a case like Barcelona or Austria, there’s long straights.”

“You have mirrors. But some use them more than others and some people also run into trouble more than others. 

“I think it’s sometimes it’s a man-made problem.”

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The recurring incidents of impeding during qualifying sessions have prompted discussions within the Formula 1 community regarding possible solutions to mitigate such occurrences. Hulkenberg’s comments shed light on the individual responsibility drivers bear in ensuring a smooth and fair qualifying experience. 

By emphasising the need for heightened attentiveness and the utilisation of mirrors, Hulkenberg underlines the potential for drivers to contribute positively towards minimizing impeding incidents.

“Drivers just can’t say ‘I just rely on the team’ and things – you need to watch the mirror too. Pay some attention.”