BUDAPEST, July 31, 2011 (AFP) - German driver Nick Heidfeld said he was relieved to escape unhurt after his Renault car burst into flames during Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 34-year-old said he had suffered a similar incident earlier this year at the Spanish Grand Prix, but this was far worse and more frightening.His car began to blaze shortly after his second pit-stop, which was longer than usual due to a wheel-nut problem.
The team believed its forward-facing exhausts overheated while the car was stationary and this led to the fire. Heidfeld exited the pits, hoping that increased speeds would help extinguish the fire, but instead it made it worse and when he stopped on track
the car's side-pod exploded.
"It was so scary," he said. "At Barcelona, I looked left, saw a small fire and had time to stop. This one, I looked straight, saw the fire and it got hot. "I really felt the temperature. It was a bit scary - much more so for me than Barcelona."
He said that the team were still investigating to find the cause. They are still looking into it," he said. "My stop was a bit longer, so that might be one of the reasons, but it is not like the stop was very long - it was not that I was stationary for 20 seconds or something. We are still investigating."