Hungarian Grand Prix – Antonio Giovinazzi has been handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding another driver during the qualifying hour.
During the final moments of Q1, the Alfa Romeo driver appeared to obstruct Racing Point’s Lance Stroll through turn four and five, causing the Canadian to abandon his flying lap.
Stroll ended up being eliminated from the first part of qualifying for the eleventh time in twelve race, finishing nineteenth, whilst Giovinazzi was able to progress into Q2.
An investigation was held by the stewards, and they deemed the incident worthy of a three-place grid penalty, which provisionally demotes Giovinazzi from 14th to 17th on the grid.
Alfa Romeo argued that Giovinazzi was not correctly informed about Stroll’s ‘push’ lap, but the stewards ruled that the standard punishment still applies.
The stewards’ statement read:
“Notwithstanding the fact that the team incorrectly informed the driver of car 99 that he was “in phase” with car 18, when in fact car 18 was on a push lap, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that on an in lap, he makes all reasonable endeavours to watch for following cars that are on a push lap and to ensure they are not impeded. It was noted that car 99 was shown a blue flashing light halfway between turns 3 and 4.
“Telemetry and GPS data confirmed that car 18 lost considerable time through the section of track involved. The Stewards believe the driver of car 99 could, and should, have moved from the racing line prior to Turn 4. Accordingly, the driver unnecessarily impeded car 18.”
The three-place grid penalty was one part of what Giovinazzi described as a “tough” qualifying session, commenting that he “hoped” – rather than expected – to be competitive in the race.
“It was a tough qualifying session today. I went wide in turn 11 in Q1 and the car didn’t feel right afterwards, so we will need to check if something happened,” said Giovinazzi.
“The midfield is very tight, details can make all the difference and today we fell a bit short. We are not where we’d like to be on the grid, especially with the grid penalty we received, but we have plenty of data to look into ahead of the race. It’s hard to tell where we stand when it comes to race pace, but I hope we can be competitive tomorrow.”