Formula 1, Hülkenberg frustration after Canada qualifying: Everything went wrong!

Nico Hülkenberg will only start the Formula 1 race in Canada from 18th place. The Haas driver was eliminated after Q1 on Saturday. The reason for his exit was already hidden in the training sessions. In these, the German was unable to cope with the VF-24. The reason was identified as the rear wing, which was changed before qualifying – for the second time that day.

“We changed to a rear wing of the same specification and also changed the underbody. But again the measured load was not what it should be,” said Hülkenberg. The first change was made before FP3, the correction will follow afterwards. “That’s why we changed the rear wing today (on Saturday) to a specification with more downforce directly before qualifying.”

Nico Hülkenberg: Rear wing puts a stop to Haas’ plans

But because not everything went smoothly when changing the rear wing, Hülkenberg’s VF-24 was delayed from leaving the track. “This meant that our entire run plan went a little off track. We were behind schedule and it became busy and hectic,” he said, describing the consequences.

This had an impact on the tyre preparation, among other things. “I only had one slow lap before my last lap,” the Haas driver continued. In Montreal, many teams relied on two cooldown laps per hot lap to get the tyres into the right temperature window. “Due to the minimal lap time, they could not be cooled down sufficiently,” said Hülkenberg.

This made the problem spiral even further for him. No good timing, no good tyre preparation and finally, on his decisive fast lap, he ran into Yuki Tsunoda’s VCARB-01 in the last chicane. Not so close that it could be classified as blocking, but close enough to Haas’.

Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg
Nico Hülkenberg during the F1 qualifying in Canada, Photo: LAT Images

Canadian GP started on the wrong foot: Hülkenberg unlucky

“All of that combined meant we were out,” he said angrily. “The whole weekend was kind of difficult and it didn’t go according to plan – quite the opposite.” Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu defended his driver due to the circumstances. “This weekend Nico started on the wrong foot and the changes we made came a bit late. That’s why he couldn’t show his potential,” said the Japanese.

But even apart from the problems and the poor starting position, Hülkenberg is not very optimistic about the ninth race of the 2024 Formula 1 season on Sunday. “My pure car pace does not look very fairytale. I think we need luck due to the circumstances, maybe the weather will help us,” he said soberly, assessing his chances in the race.

Kevin Magnussen despite Q2 exit: We are doing well, no matter what happens

Qualifying went a little better for teammate Kevin Magnussen. The Dane reached Q2, where he could not get past P14. The reason for this was a wrong decision at Haas due to the uncertain weather conditions. “We thought that the rain would come in Q2 and so I went out with a fresh set of tires at the beginning,” he said, describing the calculation. But the rain did not come and so Haas was left with the used tires when track conditions improved.

His outlook for the race could hardly be more in contrast to that of his teammate: “The long run pace looked decent, even though it was dry and we don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow. But we should be in good shape, no matter what happens.”

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