Romain Grosjean has been hit with a three-place grid penalty for impeding Lando Norris during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The incident occurred early in the first part of qualifying, with Norris approaching the final corner on a flying lap but finding Grosjean going slowly on the racing line. Grosjean attempted to accelerate quickly, but Norris was forced to brake heavily to avoid the Haas, costing him time at the end of his lap.
Both drivers advanced to Q3, with Norris qualifying tenth originally and Grosjean two places ahead in eighth. The pair were summoned to the stewards after the session and although the Haas driver explained he was reacting to being overtaken by Sebastian Vettel, he was penalized for the incident.
“The driver of car 8 (Grosjean) stated that he was about to commence a push lap when he was overtaken by car 5 (Vettel) and thus slowed significantly to maintain a sufficient gap. He was not advised by the team of the rapid approach of car 4 (Norris), which was on a push lap. The speed differential was 136 km/h at the point where car 4 had to take avoiding action.
“The Stewards accept that the driver of car 8 did not intentionally intend to impede; however it is the driver’s responsibility to be aware, when traveling abnormally slowly, that faster cars may be approaching.”
The penalty drops Grosjean from eighth to 11th on the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen moving up to eighth place, Norris to ninth and Daniel Ricciardo being promoted to 10th.
Grosjean and team principal Guenther Steiner reacted angrily in the paddock as the Frenchman also received a penalty point for the incident, bringing him up to eight in total. A driver will be given a one-race ban if they accrue 12 penalty points in a 12-month period.