Italian Grand Prix: Nico Hulkenberg reconsidering views on halo after safety device protects Charles Leclerc from injury
Leclerc, who was unhurt when Hulkenberg rammed into Fernando Alonso's McLaren and sent it spiralling airborne across the cockpit of his Sauber car.
Monza: Four days after triggering the accident in which a 'halo' protected Charles Leclerc from serious injury, Nico Hulkenberg admitted on Thursday that he has reconsidered his views on the controversial cockpit safety device.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at the world's fastest Formula One racing circuit, the historic Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the German driver said he retained mixed feelings, but appreciated it was 'useful.'
A long-time critic of the halo, Hulkenberg said: "I think, whilst I am still not a big fan of the halo and the device, I have to see the facts and admit that it does bring something to F1, especially the safety we appreciate in the car.
"So I have divided, mixed feelings about it still, but it is not down to me anyway and it is what it is. It has proven pretty useful and it a good device.
"We can only speculate on what would have happened without it, but it looks pretty clear from the point that the tyre marks were all over the halo… From that point of view, it has done a very good job to keep the head safe."
Leclerc, who was unhurt when Hulkenberg rammed into Fernando Alonso's McLaren and sent it spiralling airborne across the cockpit of his Sauber car – leaving a lurid black smudge of tyre marks on his halo, said he had initially felt most annoyed at being forced into retirement.
"Later, looking back at the images, we cannot know what will have happened without it," he said. "But, obviously, I was quite happy to have it over my head!
"And it deserves to be in F1 now — whether it looks good or bad… I don't think that matters any more."
The Monegasque driver, 20, is the Godson of former Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who died in 2015 of head injuries sustained in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
"For Jules, it would not have changed anything," said Leclerc. "In some circumstances, it can help. Whether it helped in Spa, or not, I don't know, but it is a good thing to have."
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Formula 1 2020: Lewis Hamilton emerges quickest in Friday's second practice, expects Saturday's qualifying to be a 'nightmare'
Hamilton, who outpaced team-mate Valtteri Bottas by nearly three-tenths of a second, said he anticipated a similar scenario to last year when most drivers backed off so much they failed to clock a final fastest lap.
Formula 1 2020: Impossible for me to win Italian GP, says Max Verstappen after disappointing run in Friday's practice sessions
Verstappen, who is 47 points behind runaway leader and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the drivers championship, spun and crashed during the morning and then struggled to claim fifth in the afternoon.
Ferrari reverted back to an age-old burgundy livery for its 1,000th F1 race. But there was little to celebrate as Charles Leclerc finished eighth and Sebastian Vettel 10th.