Lance Stroll will move up a position on the grid from his seventeenth place in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, despite being levied a three place penalty for blocking Romain Grosjean in Q1.
Grosjean had encountered the very slow Stroll when piling into the penultimate corner on a hot lap, committing to the outside to pass the Williams, and being forced to brake hard and escape into the run-off when Stroll also pulled right.
While a penalty seemed likely at first glance, the stewards deemed leniency towards Stroll was necessary given the circumstances of the mix-up.
“The stewards examined multiple angles of video evidence, including CCTV not available on the broadcast and radio calls to car 18, and heard from Lance Stroll, the driver of car 18, Romain Grosjean, the driver of car 8 and the team representatives,” read an FIA statement.
“Stroll was on a slow lap, Grosjean on a fast lap. Stroll was changing settings under direction of his engineer and got a very late call about Grosjean overtaking. Stroll immediately moved right and off the track, but Grosjean was already outside track limits and made the decision to overtake on the right, as Stroll moved right.
“It was obvious Stroll was not able to see Grosjean approaching in his mirrors, and he stated he could not move to the left as [Daniil] Kvyat was passing him on that side.
“The stewards believe Stroll did what he could in the circumstances but nevertheless this was potentially a very dangerous situation as the speed differential between the two cars was in excess of 100 km/h at the apex of Turn 19. The stewards believe the team should have given Stroll more advance warning that Grosjean was approaching rapidly.”
A three place grid penalty was awarded to Stroll, which in practical terms has a negligible effect. After penalties are applied to Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg and Brendon Hartley, Stroll moves up to sixteenth place on the grid.
The incident also left Grosjean unaffected in terms of his final grid position, having scraped into Q2 by 0.007 seconds on his final attempt in Q1.