British Grand Prix – Williams’ George Russell has been given a five place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags at the end of Q1 at Silverstone.
Williams’ George Russell has been given a five place grid penalty as a result of ignoring yellow flags at the end of Q1. The double yellow flags were shown to cover teammate Nicholas Latifi’s spin at Stowe at the conclusion of the session, with double yellow meaning extreme caution.
Russell was heard over team radio explaining that he’d lifted clearly off, but the stewards thought otherwise and summoned him.
With a five place grid penalty imposed, Russell now starts his and Williams’ home race from P20 having made it into Q2 and P15 originally.
A statement from the stewards indicated their level of displeasure with Russell and the team’s transgression, hitting the Englishman with three penalty points along with his grid penalty:
“Russell explained to the Stewards that he only saw the double yellow flag signal at Turn 7 in his peripheral vision and believed it was just a single yellow. He lifted slightly earlier than he had on his previous lap, but his speed was not “significantly” slower than previous laps, although he explained that he was in full control of the car and felt that he would have been able to take avoiding action if needed; and further that he was at a similar speed because he was on a faster lap overall.”
“The Stewards reviewed the team radio and noted that the team warned him that a yellow was ahead. They did not specify that it was a double yellow flag. Further, they did not advise him that he needed to abort the lap, following the Race Director’s notes in this regard that he should not be able to set a meaningful lap time.
“This was, in fact, his fastest lap of Q1. The purpose of the Race Director’s note is to emphasise the extreme importance of the necessity to follow the flag signals for safety reasons. While the Stewards explored all possible mitigating factors, they ultimately determined that it was the responsibility of the driver to see and follow the double yellow flag signal correctly in a potentially very dangerous situation. The team could certainly have helped more in this regard. But ultimately, he could not set a meaningful lap time in this circumstance, and therefore order a Five Grid Place Penalty and three penalty points.”
Russell looked to the positives of Williams’ Saturday performance, saying: “We have got to be pleased with our performance. It is three races in a row now we have been faster on Saturday and slower on Sunday, and so we tried to set the car up more for Sunday, so I was quite surprised with the performance we had today. The car felt great it was really fun driving around the track. Once we made it to Q2 we always want more, but our realistic goal was to out qualify the Haas and the Alfa, because the next team, AlphaTauri were just too far ahead. I was pleased with the job I did, and we will see what happens tomorrow.”