Minardi critical of Hulkenberg penalty


Reflecting on an eventful Brazilian Grand Prix, Gian Carlo Minardi, whose team brought Fernando Alonso into F1 in 2001, has criticised the penalty handed to Nico Hulkenberg.

Though the German's spin was to take out Lewis Hamilton, in his final outing for McLaren, many believe that it was a racing incident as the two battled for the lead and undeserving of a penalty, a view shared by Minardi.

"Hulkenberg had excellent race," he has left the team in the best way," said the Italian. "I think Sauber has made a good choice as Nico is a young emerging driver, though he was a little too aggressive and impetuous during the race.

"He was performing well at the beginning, just like Button, when he decided to keep on running on slick tyres, instead of switching to medium like other drivers.

"I do not agree with the penalty imposed to him. More and more passes are needed and more and more means are invented to facilitate them. But as soon as someone tries to make a pass in difficult condition he is penalised because he causes a car clash."

The Italian is amongst those who feels that title winner Sebastian Vettel enjoyed more than his fair share of luck on Sunday.

"When the weather changes so quickly, everyone is put to the test. We have to praise Sebastian and Red Bull for winning their third World Championship. Three world titles are never won by chance. It was a pity, because, besides the value that no one wants to deny, luck played a key role again. Those drivers who were involved in the accident at the beginning, had to quit the race, while Vettel was able to restart and cross the line despite the little damage occurred.

"McLaren and Lotus played the role of Championship arbiters, even if their roles were very different. Considering the final result, the zero points scored by a "guiltless" Alonso at Spa and Suzuka, had a heavy impact on the Spaniard's season. In a 20 race season, 3 points advantage can be as many as nothing. Ferrari had many technical issues but the team was able to handle each race in a very good way, managing to bring both drivers on to the podium, fighting against the dominance of Red Bull and McLaren.

"Until the Safety Car, the gap between Button and Alonso was big, this proves that Ferrari still has so much work to do, especially with the 2013 season around the corner. The gap to the World Champions is big and McLaren will be fighting for the title until the final race next year."

The Italian concluded by paying tribute to two veterans who both enjoyed good races on Sunday.

"Massa's good performance should also be noticed. Thanks to his last three races, the trust put in the Brazilian by the "Scuderia", he been rewarded. He's the racer Ferrari needs to have to win the Constructors' Championship again. He finally succeeded in leaving the fear behind and, in my opinion, he has found himself again. Having regard to his good shape, it's a pity that the racing season came to an end, however, when a driver finds the right path again, it is difficult for him to make the same mistakes.

"It was also the last GP for Michael Schumacher who said farewell to the sport with a very good race and showing his great talent by scoring the last points of his career.

"We also have to praise Kimi Raikkonen who finished third ahead of Hamilton, completing all the races. At the beginning of the season this result was almost unpredictable for Lotus."

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Published: 27/11/2012
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