Formula 1

Penalties Reshape Grid at Sao Paulo Grand Prix: George Russell, Esteban Ocon, and Pierre Gasly Penalized

Post-qualifying infractions lead to grid penalties for three Formula 1 drivers at Brazilian Grand Prix

In the aftermath of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix qualifying session, the Formula 1 grid finds itself reshuffled due to penalties handed out to three drivers. George Russell, Esteban Ocon, and Pierre Gasly have all received two-place grid penalties, resulting from their failure to adhere to the race director’s event-specific rules during qualifying.

Key Takeaways:

  • George Russell, Esteban Ocon, and Pierre Gasly received grid penalties for not complying with race director’s event-specific regulations during qualifying.
  • These penalties stemmed from their failure to stay to the left while creating a gap in the pit lane exit, a rule implemented to prevent obstruction and ensure safety.

The drama unfolded at the Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying as stewards stepped in to enforce penalties on three drivers, significantly altering the outcome of the session. Mercedes’ George Russell, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly were all penalized for their failure to follow a specific directive issued by the race director.

The directive in question outlined a specific rule for this weekend’s event: drivers must keep as far left as possible in the pit lane exit if they intend to create a gap to the car ahead during qualifying. This regulation aimed to address previous issues, notably those observed at the Mexican Grand Prix, where drivers blocked the pit lane or posed a hazard on the track while attempting to create gaps for their flying laps.

During the initial phase of qualifying, stewards found that Russell, Ocon, and Gasly did not sufficiently adhere to the left side of the pit lane exit while trying to establish the necessary space, ultimately obstructing other cars. Consequently, all three drivers have been slapped with a two-place grid penalty, casting uncertainty over which race this penalty will apply to – the Sprint Race on Saturday or the Grand Prix on Sunday.

“Russell was exiting the pits, preparing for an out lap. Russell went slow to create a gap for a clear lap, but did not manage to stay completely to the left.” 

Furthermore, the stewards emphasized that the actions of these drivers were in direct contravention of both the “wording and the spirit of item 14 of the race director’s event notes.”

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