Charles Leclerc has been given a three place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Styrian Grand Prix after the stewards deemed him to have impeded AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat during the second session of qualifying.
Leclerc, who before the penalty sat 11th place on the grid for tomorrow’s race after more problems for Ferrari, will now have to start 14th, meaning George Russell, Lance Stroll and Kvyat all move into 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.
A statement by the the Stewards stated:
“Video evidence and telemetry data clearly showed that the driver of Car 26 [Kvyat] was impeded by Car 16 [Leclerc] in turns 9 and 10,” said the stewards.
“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 heard from the driver of Car 16 (Charles Leclerc) and the team representative and have reviewed video evidence,” said the statement.
“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.”
The stewards also quizzed Leclerc over his actions over an alleged breach following Antonio Giovinazzi’s crash bring out the red flag. but no further action was required following the investigation.
Leclerc’s penalty ultimately means Ferrari’s list of woes get ever so slightly longer, but as qualifying and the last two Austrian Grand Prix have shown, chaos is never to far away and can always lend a helping hand providing you are in the right place at the right time.