Nico Hulkenberg asserts that his finishing position at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix was not impacted by his penalty in qualifying.
Hulkenberg starred to end qualifying in second place amid challenging conditions and was on course for his first front-row start since 2016.
However, he was summoned to the stewards amid allegations that he drove too fast under the red flag that was deployed moments after he set his fastest lap.
The Haas driver was found guilty and was demoted three places on the grid.
Hulkenberg ended the race in 15th, having pitted a handful of laps before a Safety Car was called on lap 12 when George Russell hit the wall.
“It definitely didn’t help, that’s for sure,” Hulkenberg said, regarding the Safety Car. “I lost a bunch of places, the timing wasn’t great. Very different to yesterday with the red flag.
“But after that also, I think we were struggling for pace, tyre management or tyre deg, maybe not so much here but it was still pace I felt we were missing compared to some of our main competitors.”
Haas has been suffering from increased tyre degradation this year, which is hampering its progress on race day.
Its issues were evident once again in Montreal as Hulkenberg slipped backwards throughout the grand prix.
“You are just being bombarded, you know you are hanging on by your teeth, it’s not that fun,” he said. “It is what it is.
“It’s tough to take, especially during the moment. But I think we have to think longer term and think of a long-term solution for this.
“There’s nothing really we can do with set up to fix this, it’s a bigger issue. We’re very much aware of it, and working on it. But it’s a longer-term strategy that we need to pursue to get much better at it.”
As a result, the German asserted that even without his penalty, he expects the end result in the race would’ve remained the same.
“Obviously it’s a pity but I broke the law there, it’s justified. I totally accept it and took it.
“It wouldn’t have made a difference to the ending of today’s race, I believe. It was still not great that I made that error.”