Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc has received a three-place grid penalty for the Styrian Grand Prix for impeding AlphaTauri racer Daniil Kvyat in qualifying, and will therefore start 14th.
The Monegasque driver had a frustrating session and qualified only 11th, and he therefore tumbles behind Williams driver George Russell, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Kvyat.
The stewards made it clear that Leclerc had been informed that Kvyat was approaching, and they did not accept his excuse that visibility was poor in the wet.
They stated: “The driver of car 16 had been adequately informed by the team after Turn 7 that car 26 would be approaching and that he should watch out for traffic.
“Following this, he accelerated on the approach to Turn 9, but eventually slowed down again after spotting another car in front of him in Turn 9 in order to prevent having his following lap affected.
“Furthermore, the driver of car 16 stated that it would have been impossible for him to see anything in his rear view mirrors due to the bad weather conditions.
“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 penalty.”
Leclerc was also still subject to a separate investigation for not immediately pitting when the red flag for Antonio Giovinazzi’s stranded Alfa Romeo was out, but no further action was taken.
On this matter, the stewards said: “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 pitlane 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.
“Taking this into account, stewards determine to take no further action.”
Giovinazzi’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was also subject to a red flag investigation, and was excused on similar grounds.
The stewards noted that the Finn “made an attempt to safely enter the pitlane, but was unable to reasonably do so”.
Meanwhile, Racing Point driver Sergio Perez escaped sanction for an alleged yellow flag infringement, with the stewards deciding that he had done as much as he could to slow down.
They noted: “The driver of car 11 had already reached the braking zone before Turn 3 and was fully committed to the corner at the moment a single yellow flag was shown shortly before the apex of Turn 3.
“In addition to that, a green light panel was flashing right after the apex.
“Taking into account these facts, the stewards determine that the driver of car 11 had no chance to do anything more to slow down more than he did and therefore take no further action.”