George Russell, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly received penalties after qualifying in Brazil. The three were investigated by the stewards for their behavior during last night’s session at the Interlagos circuit. In the end, the stewards decided to move them two places back from the positions they had occupied after the conclusion of qualifying.
Russell, Ocon and Gasly were called to the stewards after qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. All three were found guilty of holding up their rivals when exiting the pits in Q1. This is in direct contradiction to the latest race director instructions issued to teams and drivers before the start of the weekend
The new instructions were issued because of the problems at the Mexico City Grand Prix last week. Because of the conflicting instructions, all the pilots who were investigated at the time avoided sanctions. Among them was Russell.
The new rules for this weekend require drivers to go through the apex of Turn 3 on the pit lane before turning left. This way they will leave room for other cars to pass.
Unfortunately, Russell didn’t do that in the first qualifying segment. The Mercedes driver broke the revised rules. As a result, he was moved back two places and will start from eighth place in Sunday’s Grand Prix.
As a result of Russell’s penalty, Lando Norris will start from the sixth position. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz also moves up one place and will start seventh.
“The stewards listened to the driver of car #63 (George Russell), the team representative and reviewed the in-car video footage,” the FIA’s official statement said.
“To avoid situations like those in Mexico, the race director’s notes for this race contained a special clause (point 14). It stipulates that it is permitted to drive slowly when exiting the pits to create a gap before crossing the SC2 line.”
“However, the pilot should stay as far to the left as possible. This will allow other riders to pass on the right side.”
Russell was coming out of the pits getting ready for a lap. The Brit went slow to create a gap for a free lap but was unable to stay completely to the left
“As a result, the following car(s) were unable to overtake him as intended in the flight director’s instructions. This clearly violates the wording and spirit of point 14 of the race director’s notes.’
Gasly was among the drivers detained by Russell. The Alpin driver was not at all happy with the behavior of his Mercedes colleague. Ironically, Gasly was also given a two-place penalty for driving slowly on the pit exit and not keeping to the left as much as possible. His teammate Esteban Ocon received the same sanction.
Lance Stroll was also summoned to a meeting with the stewards over allegations he exceeded the maximum delta time during qualifying. It turned out that the Canadian was too slow on the pit-stop lap. In this case, however, the stewards decided that no further action was necessary in relation to the case of the Aston Martin driver.