Nico Hulkenberg bemoans timing of red flag at Spa

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Nico Hulkenberg says he was left frustrated by the timing of the red flag period during the Belgian Grand Prix, after missing out on a first podium in Formula One.

Hulkenberg finished fourth at Spa, directly ahead of teammate Sergio Perez in fifth as Force India leapfrogged Williams up to fourth in the constructors standings after securing a 22-point haul. The German had run as high as second place behind race winner Nico Rosberg in the early stages and pitted for tyres just before the red flag came out.

Despite going on to record his best result of the season, Hulkenberg admitted he was disappointed to see the red flag at that stage of the grand prix.

"I had a mega start, a mega first lap," Hulkenberg told Sky Sports. "There was a bit of a thingy going on between Max and the Ferraris I believe and I was able to profit from that and found myself in second.

"On that super-soft tyres it was going actually well, I was behind Nico. He was pulling away from me a little bit but I was pulling away from the people behind me, which was really important at that stage of the race.

"Unfortunately the red flag came and neutralised the race, which was a bit frustrating at that moment. I would have preferred not to have that red flag but that's racing."

Hulkenberg was nearly involved in a pit lane collision with Fernando Alonso as the pair exited side-by-side on Lap 24, with the Force India driver returning to the track narrowly ahead after the slightest brush of contact. Hulkenberg played down the near-altercation and believes Alonso did nothing wrong.

"No not at all, I wouldn't call it an incident, that's just racing. It's what we all want to see. There's no complaints from my side just good racing."