Force India says first SC period a joke

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley described the safety car that negated Nico Hulkenberg's early Brazilian Grand Prix lead as "a joke".

Hulkenberg and McLaren rival Jenson Button were 48 seconds clear of the rest of the field by lap 22, having stayed out on slicks in the early rain shower while all rivals pitted for intermediates then had to change back.

But their advantage was reduced when the safety car was summoned so debris could be cleared.

Fernley felt this could have been done under local yellow flags and accused the officials of trying to spice up the race.

"I think the safety car was a joke. I thought we were playing NASCAR," Fernley told AUTOSPORT. "We could've done that debris under double yellow flags.

"We were so far in front with Jenson. When you look at what it takes, from both a driver and a team point of view, to pull it back obviously was a show decision."

Hulkenberg held the lead after the restart and stayed in front until an error on lap 48 allowed Lewis Hamilton through.

The pair then collided six laps later as Hulkenberg slid into a spin while re-passing the McLaren amid heavy traffic at the Senna S.

While Hamilton was out on the spot, Hulkenberg continued but dropped to fifth after receiving a drive-through penalty - which Fernley was also unimpressed with.

"I can't work that one out," he said. "There was a Caterham [Heikki Kovalainen] there that was wobbling down the middle of the track with blue flags everywhere. It boxed Lewis in, Lewis had nowhere to go and Nico saw an opportunity.

"They were both fighting for the lead. If it was a reckless piece of driving I could accept it.

"Equally it could be argued that Nico was quicker and he could have waited a little longer, I could also accept that.

"But you've got a car in the middle of the track that should've just got out of the way in the first place. Then both of the leaders could've got through without any incident."