Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has been hit with a three-place grid penalty for Styrian Grand Prix for impeding AlphaTauri driver Daniil Kvyat during qualifying.
The Monegasque driver was accused of having impeded his Russian rival in turns 9 and 10 at 16:16. He and a Ferrari representative were summoned to the stewards who heard from them and reviewed video evidence.
After hearing from the driver and reviewing every data available, the stewards claimed that Leclerc had been adequately informed by Ferrari that Kvyat would be approaching and he should watch out for traffic.
Although Leclerc stated that it would have been impossible for him to see anything in his rear view mirrors due to the bad weather conditions, the stewards imposed a 3-place grid penalty while Leclerc has also been handed a penalty point on his license. The 22-year-old driver has now 3 points in total for the 12-month period.
„Video evidence and telemetry data clearly showed that the driver of Car 26 was impeded by Car 16 in turns 9 and 10. Although the weather conditions might have affected the visibility in the rear view mirrors and the driver had no intention of impeding another car, the Stewards determine that the driver of Car 16 must have been aware of Car 26 approaching, could have reacted differently and therefore impose the above mentioned penalty,” the stewards stated in their statement.
The Ferrari driver was also called to the stewards to discuss an alleged breach of the red flag regulations. Leclerc was accused of disrespecting the red flags when the stewards stopped the first qualifying segment following Antonio Giovinazzi’s crash.
The stewards have decided not to take any further action, stating: „The red flag came at the moment the driver of Car 16 was approaching the entry of Turn 9 and the driver was fully committed to the turn.”
„The driver braked hard, did not accelerate after turn 9 and considered entering the pit lane by crossing the white line at pit entry, but felt it would have been unsafe do so. The driver reacted appropriately, continued on track and drove the lap afterwards at safe speeds.”