Nico Hulkenberg thinks the FIA ‘bent the rule’ at the Mexican Grand Prix to not give Lewis Hamilton a penalty for gaining an advantage at the first corner.
Hamilton locked up under braking for Turn 1 at the Mexico City circuit – running wide across the grass and rejoining the track at Turn 3 with a sizeable lead over the pursuing Nico Rosberg.
Although Hamilton subsequently backed off to negate much of the gap to his teammate, Hulkenberg – who was in the pursuing pack of cars – says he does not understand why he was not punished.
"With Lewis at the start it was very strange," explained the Force India driver. "I mean, if that's not gaining an advantage, I don't know what is.
"Had there been a gravel trap or a wall, he would've been in deep trouble. So I don't know, it seems they bent the rule there a bit today."
Brushes off glazed brake claim
When it was suggested to him that Hamilton had justified his move because of a glazed brake, Hulkenberg replied: "Well if you have a glazed brake then it will be glazed for the rest of the race so, I'm surprised how he still won it."
Although the FIA was comfortable with what Hamilton did, Hulkenberg said he did find it strange that there was no official investigation.
"To be honest I didn't have much thought on it [at the time], because that's not where my race is and then you don't really bother about it. I was surprised afterwards that there wasn't anything to look at."
No issue with Verstappen's move
Hulkenberg also had a grandstand seat for the Verstappen/Rosberg clash at Turn 1 – where Rosberg was forced wide but managed to retain his position on the track.
He believed that it was simple good racing between the pair, and that the situation was not helped by the low grip surface and tight opening corner.
"I think the thing is, the race start into Turn 1 everybody is fighting for every inch, braking on the limit of the car with sliding," he explained.
"As I saw it, Max wasn't opening the door to squeeze him wide, he was just sliding and also on the limit. It just happened to be like that.
"Nico was on the outside, they were wheel-to-wheel and he pushed Nico wide. I think in a way it helped Nico, because he could easily cut the corner and make the excuse."