Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Albon crashes ‘code brown’ moment

Nico Hulkenberg says he experienced a ‘brown’ moment when he narrowly avoided Alex Albon’s wrecked car during the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Albon was running sixth when he spun at high speed into a barrier and his damaged car slid towards the edge of the track.

The first drivers on the scene, Pierre Gasly and Hulkenberg, had virtually no warning – they just missed the stricken Williams as they went by at full speed. Hulkenberg admitted he narrowly escaped.

“Holy moly, I mean seriously I had a brown token at that moment,” said the Haas driver.

“That was very scary. I mean, thank God nothing happened. But this is a nightmare scenario. I came around a blind corner in a street circuit.

“I mean, that was very scary and blurred. This is a bad example of a driver losing the car, crashing and getting back on the track, and because there was a gravel trap, there was dust, so you can’t really see much.

“I think Pierre was in front of me, he was the first car, I was the second car, no marshals in the world could react so quickly.

“We didn’t have yellow flags, I just saw a cloud of dust and saw gravel flying around so I didn’t kind of take the perfect or normal racing line, I just widened a little bit.

“I guess I still didn’t miss him that much, though, so I immediately shouted on the radio that we needed a safety car and the situation was serious.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photography: Lionel Ng/ Motorsport Pictures

Having survived a near death, Hulkenberg spent much of the race battling with Lando Norris, before finally losing out when he had a tire problem.

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A late restart caused by teammate Kevin Magnussen’s crash vaulted him into fourth.

However, the subsequent red flag rearranges the final restart. He was ranked seventh after his last lap to the flag behind the safety car, scoring his first points of his comeback season.

“It was a crazy race, so many things happened, so many different scenarios,” he said. “Obviously we got a free stop at the red flag, it’s kind of a play on our hands.

“Then I had a very lonely race after following the big guys, then defending against Lando, I struggled a little bit with the tyres, and I couldn’t defend my position unfortunately.

“It was a P9 or maybe P10 kind of controlled. Then the red flags came back again, everything started heating up again and it got a little crazy.

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“But good starting practice for me, and they were all very good. Last one I really came from P8 to P4. I was able to stay clean and not be involved in any crashes.

“So that was nice, but unfortunately they put out a red flag shortly after that, so we couldn’t bring that home.

“However, I think there are a lot of positives to take. We were competitive again.”

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