Spanish Grand Prix – After qualifying P4, Pierre Gasly will now start P10 after the Stewards penalised him for multiple impeding offences.
Gasly had to explain himself to the Stewards twice after yesterday’s qualifying after getting in the way of fast laps by both Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen on separate occasions during Q1.
In the first incident Gasly had gotten out of the way of Charles Leclerc but retaken the racing line ahead of Sainz, who’d been behind his teammate. The Alpine driver told the Stewards that “he was aware that the second Ferrari (Car 55) was behind but felt he could do nothing to avoid impeding because of the high speed delta and closeness of Car 55 to Car 16.”
However they deemed that he “could have moved further to the right at the exit of turn 13” and so a three place grid drop was handed out.
For the second incident, Alpine had told Gasly that the cars behind him were on slow laps and then failed to update him that Verstappen was actually on a quick lap. A second three place grid drop was decided on so Gasly will now start from P10.
“At the time I tried to do the best I could with the information I had,” Gasly said. “There obviously are rules, anything that happened wasn’t intentional and as I say I tried the best with the information I had.”
Another investigation that had to be held was the clash between the two Mercedes cars in Q2. As they headed down the start/finish straight, George Russell moved more into the middle of the track to get a slipstream from Sainz ahead, the Ferrari having just finished a lap, so Russell moved back towards the side of the track to avoid him and came together with Lewis Hamilton who’d thought his teammate was on a slow lap and gone to overtake him.
Russell hadn’t been checking his mirrors so didn’t know Hamilton had been behind him while Mercedes hadn’t informed him that the two cars were line astern or let the seven-time champion know that Russell was also starting a fast lap.
The Stewards document recorded that: “the driver of Car 63 stated that as he was just starting his fast lap he was looking forward and had not checked his mirrors. His team did not inform him of the approach of Car 44. However in mitigation, he was reacting to the car in front of him (Car 55) which had just finished its fast lap. In addition at the end of his out lap the driver of Car 63 had to slow significantly to avoid impeding Cars 1 and 55.”
Russell managed to avoid a penalty and instead he, and Mercedes, were issued with formal warnings. The younger Silver Arrows driver failed to make it out of Q2 so will start P12 while, thanks to Gasly’s penalty, Hamilton moves up to the second row and will start P4 alongside Lando Norris.