Nico Hulkenberg 'shaken but uninjured' after opening lap roll

Getty Images

Getty Images

Hulkenberg was trapped as his Renault caught on fire during the dramatic crash which saw the safety auto deployed early on. "The wheels made contact and the rest we've seen".

I tried to sit down and check my telephone and after 30 seconds someone from the team knocked on the door and I had to say hello to a new person!

Nico Hulkenberg's vehicle flips before he's trapped in the upturned auto.

A decade on from his first of five F1 title wins, Hamilton also insisted that he never felt a personal sense of animosity towards Alonso. I know next year he's going to come back strong and I've got to do my best to come back with it, but I'm really grateful for the good times. "There is fire. There is fire".

There was also a brief fire that was extinguished by marshals before the auto was moved, and Whiting says the driver will only ever be dragged out of an upside down vehicle if there is a specific need, adding he is always aware of any information given from the cockpit.

British pop star Sam Smith, standing with Spice Girl Geri Horner, watched on aghast, with Hulkenberg still strapped into his Renault.

F1 fans erupted on social media after seeing the driver helplessly trapped in the vehicle as a result of the "halo" feature.

"Quite clearly that's one of the sort of accidents the halo was created to help with", Whiting told Motorsport.com.

Many felt that it took the attention away from where it should have been - on the race and on the drivers.

"On the other side, the team did an exceptional job all year long, and I really wanted, race on, race off, to deliver for them and wanted to end the way that I plan to start next year".

"They are both great champions and I feel very privileged to race with them and it was a great race to be fighting with the Haas drivers [for tenth place] to the very end". That's why I took the apex or went for the apex but obviously he was still there.

Some weren't convinced by Whiting's explanation.

Hulkenberg remained inside as marshals doused flames at the rear, finally clambering out through the halo head protection device after the Renault was turned over.

When Hamilton won the championship in Mexico City, a pre-recorded message from Smith was played over his radio channel saying: "Hey Lewis, congrats man!"

But the concluding race of the 21-round season will be remembered for Hulkenberg's opening-lap crash. "The time has come for me to move on, but I'm looking forward to ending the season - and my F1 career - on a positive note".

It was a symbolic finish to a season where, again, Hamilton showed his superiority under pressure to beat Vettel into second place overall for the second straight year.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, in his last race with Red Bull before leaving for Renault, was second and third respectively in the sessions.

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