Hülkenberg to keep front row start after FIA investigations

Nico Hulkenberg - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Nico Hülkenberg will keep his second place on the grid after stewards deemed he had slowed sufficiently under yellow flags during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Sahara Force India driver was cleared after telemetry from his team showed that he had lifted off the throttle as he passed the stricken Scuderia Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, who had pulled off the circuit with an engine issue on the run down to turn two.

“When we saw Carlos [Sainz]’s engine fail we were on the radio straightaway in no uncertain terms – he certainly got the message,” said Force India team manager Andy Stevenson.

“We could see the lift in the telemetry, so we took that along to the stewards.”

The stewards at the Red Bull Ring, which include this weekend Martin Donnelly as the former driver representative, released a statement post-qualifying regarding Hülkenberg and the yellow flag situation.

“Although the driver went ‘green’ in the sector where the double yellow flags were displayed, the telemetry clearly demonstrated that he had decelerated on approaching the flag point and that his speed reduced in the yellow flag sector,” read the statement.

Three drivers did fall foul of yellow flag offences during the session, with Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer, Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto and Sauber F1 Team’s Felipe Nasr all taking three-place grid penalties and receiving two penalty points for failing to observe the yellow flags.