Romain Grosjean has been hit with a 20-second post-race penalty for hitting Jenson Button’s McLaren while attempting to overtake him at the chicane during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The penalty, issued in lieu of a drive-through because it was applied after the race, does not cost Grosjean sixth place because he was 21.524sec clear of Button on the road.
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane believes the punishment was excessive, especially as other drivers escaped investigation for what he saw as more serious incidents.
“We discussed it [with the stewards] and agreed to disagree,” he said shortly after emerging from the stewards’ room. I think it was very harsh as it was a slight tap. I guess it’s the letter of the law and they had to do it.
“There were more serious incidents in the race. Sebastian [Vettel] on the run down to the first corner nearly pushes him off the circuit and nothing gets said.”
Grosjean admitted that he misjudged the track width at that part of the circuit. He also apologized to Button before facing the post-race stewards’ investigation.
“With Jenson, I was a bit too much on the left of him and the track goes narrow where we were, I thought it was wider than that. I went to apologize to Jenson.”
Button was unimpressed with Grosjean’s part in the incident and blamed the Lotus driver for moving over on him.
“I couldn’t go any more left,” he said. “Unless I’m on the grass, which is not where I want to be when I am braking for a corner, he had no way of not hitting me.”