Penalty for Russell, no action against Ferrari and Ocon

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Williams driver George Russell has been given a five-place grid penalty for disregarding the double yellow flags in the qualifying session for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.

Russell managed to get through to Q2 by delivering an impressive lap time in the first qualifying segment, but he failed to repeat his lap time from Q1 and only qualified 15th. However, the Briton has been handed a 5-place grid drop penalty for ignoring the double yellow flag signal.

Although Russell slowed down, the stewards thought that „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.”

In addition to his grip drop penalty, Russell has been handed three penalty points on his licence. He currently has three points in total in the 12-month period.

The stewards also made an investigation into an incident involving Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll. Ferrari was alleged to have sent the Monegasque driver in to the fast lane in a dangerous manner, causing a hazardous situation. The incident happened at 16:03 in the last qualifying segment when drivers left their garages to complete their last hot laps.

The stewards have decided to take no further action. „Having reviewed the video evidence and having reviewed previous instances, the Stewards determined that this situation was not particularly unsafe,” read the FIA statement.

Esteban Ocon was also under investigation after the Frenchman was alleged to have impeded Kimi Räikkönen. The incident happened at the end of the first qualifying session at 15:17. The Finn complained about the Frenchman, indicating that Ocon deprived him of setting a better lap time on his last flying lap.

The stewards have decided against taking any action, claiming that „that Raikkonen’s aero may have been affected in his lap, the cars were never close enough, especially compared to previous cases, to constitute “Unnecessary Impeding” which is the text of the regulation.”