Haas has decided to fight the results of Sunday’s chaotic Australian Grand Prix, the team lodging a protest against the running order on the race’s final restart, with a podium finish for Nico Hulkenberg at stake.
A late red flag – the second of the afternoon – triggered by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen when the Dane hit the wall and scattered debris all over the track led to a restart during which all hell broke loose.
Multiple incidents sent several drivers spinning while both Alpine cars crashed together into retirement, setting off the third red flag and race stoppage of the day.
Nico Hulkenberg who had been running in the points at that stage after a remarkable afternoon, had steered clear of the commotion to rejoin the pitlane in fourth place, just behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
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During the halt, Sainz was handed a 5-second penalty for a contact with Fernando Alonso that set off the chain reaction, a sanction that potentially propelled Hulkenberg up to an unexpected third and on to the podium.
However, race control opted to restart proceedings for one final lap behind the safety car with the running order taken from the prior standing start, a decision that dropped Hulkenberg back down to seventh.
Haas believes the running order should not have been rolled back to the previous start, and instead should have been determined by every driver’s position at the second safety car line – or from SC2.
“It was wild and a bit messy at times,” said Hulkenberg who holds the record for the greatest number of race starts without ever scoring a podium. “We’ll have to look through everything that happened as there were a lot of things happening.
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“I had a super start the third time around on Softs and came through to P4, so it’s a shame there were a few incidents and then the race was red flagged.”
While Hulkenberg lost out in the stewards’ ruling, Aston drivers Fernando Alonso – punted into a spin by Sainz on the restart – and Lance Stroll gained from the decision as both had veered off course and out of the points on the second restart before they were reassigned to the positions that were theirs on the second restart.
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