Nico Hulkenberg hit with Monza grid penalty for causing Spa collison

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Before coming to rest, the Spaniard's vehicle flew frighteningly close to the cockpit of Charles Leclerc's Sauber, evoking memories of a similar incident in 2012 when Alonso saw Romain Grosjean spin across the front of his Ferrari.

Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen also suffered damage as a result of the crash and although both were able to continue, they later retired as a result of the collision.

Hulkenberg triggered a terrifying crash at the first corner of the Belgian Grand Prix after colliding with the rear of Fernando Alonso's vehicle, which was then launched over the back of Charles Leclerc's Sauber.

"He hit my vehicle and then I went over Charles".

Hulkenberg was the last of the late-brakers on the run to La Source. "I had a good restart after the safety auto, and after that it was a very smooth race", he added.

"Definitely, the halo probably helped today", Leclerc told the media when asked about the crash, while Fernando Alonso called the incident "good proof" of the efficacy of the system, going on to compare the crash to the 2012 first-lap incident at Spa caused by Romain Grosjean.

All five drivers were forced to retire from the race that was won by Sebastien Vettel.

A stewards' statement said: "The driver of auto 27 stated that he completely misjudged the situation and freely admitted it was his mistake".

As the smoke and dust settled, and the wrecked cars were removed from the track as the safety vehicle was deployed, it became obvious that thirteen races into the season the controversial Halo device had proved its worth.

"It's being held in by bolts at present, but we want to see if it springs into a different shape so we can try and learn whatever we can from that".

Hulkenberg...said: "I misjudged my braking point a little bit and there was no real time to recover it".

"The positive side is that we all three are OK, including Charles".

"It's good news that all three of us are ok".

The German, also hit with three penalty points on his licence by the stewards, crashed into the back of Alonso to send the McLaren vehicle hurtling towards Leclerc.

"This system was not in force when an incident not dissimilar to this, occurred in 2012".

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