The USGP stewards ruled out sanctioning Nico Hulkenberg for his clash with Daniel Ricciardo after finding out that his front wing had been damaged earlier in the race.
The Force India driver was running well into the points-paying positions when he attempted to lunge on the inside of the Red Bull racer at Turn 12 on Lap 42. The ensuing collision led to the German’s third retirement in four events, while Ricciardo was able to bring his stricken RB11 home in 10th.
The post-race investigation showed that Hulkenberg did not slow down sufficiently through no fault of his own.
“We were looking really good and I wanted to get past Daniel [Ricciardo] as I was faster than him and he was holding me up, so I tried to make a move,” said the 28-year-old. “Unfortunately that didn't work and it was the end of my race.
“When I got back to the garage the team told me that there was an issue with the front wing – from contact earlier in the race – and it broke just when I was trying to make the move on Daniel. It's a shame as we could have scored a lot of points.”
Hulkenberg’s last three DNFs have come as a result of a coming together with another driver. Indeed, the reigning Le Mans 24 Hours champion collided with Williams’ Felipe Massa at Singapore, and tangled with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson on the opening lap at Sochi.
Hulkenberg now sits 26 points adrift of team-mate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ championship. Coming off a super podium finish in Russia, the Mexican drove another strong race to claim fifth at Austin.
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