Hulkenberg’s FP2 Spin: A Costly Error

nico hulkenberg haas spain abu dhabi 2023

Nico Hulkenberg’s second practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended in a spin and crash due to his own admitted driver error. The incident curtailed his track time significantly, as he had already sat out FP1, with young driver Oliver Bearman taking his place.

Catch up quick:

  • Nico Hulkenberg acknowledges his mistake led to a spin-off and crash during FP2 at Yas Marina.
  • The session was already delayed due to Carlos Sainz’s earlier crash, reducing available practice time.
  • Hulkenberg missed FP1 for young driver Bearman’s run, leaving him with minimal track experience for the weekend.
  • Teammate Kevin Magnussen had a smoother session but also faced limited running due to the red flags.

Go deeper:
During the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s second practice session, Nico Hulkenberg’s return to the track was marred by a spin-off incident that he later owned up to as a driver error. This mishap came after a significant delay caused by Carlos Sainz’s crash, which required barrier inspections and repairs.

Hulkenberg, eager to make up for lost time, pushed too hard on his first flying lap, resulting in the spin and subsequent crash. Although the impact was less severe than Sainz’s, it was enough to end Hulkenberg’s practice session prematurely, limiting him to a mere seven laps.

The German driver’s absence from FP1, where Oliver Bearman took his seat as part of F1’s young driver development program, compounded his lack of track time. Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner praised Bearman’s performance but couldn’t hide the disappointment over Hulkenberg’s lost time, especially considering the recent modifications to the Bahrain International Circuit that Hulkenberg has yet to fully experience.

Despite the setback, Hulkenberg remains focused on the final practice session (FP3), although he notes the daytime conditions will differ significantly from the race, impacting the session’s relevance.

Kevin Magnussen, Hulkenberg’s teammate, managed an incident-free FP2 but still faced limited running due to the session’s disruptions. He ended the day in P17, with his performance on medium tires providing some insight into the team’s potential.

As the Haas team looks ahead, they face the challenge of preparing for the race with less data and track time than they would prefer. Steiner acknowledges the team’s one-lap pace isn’t far off the mark, but long-run performance remains a concern.

Stay tuned for further updates as the Haas team regroups and strategizes for the remainder of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.