Lewis Hamilton has been handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, although he will actually only lose two spots on the final grid.
The championship leader was in Raikkonen’s way approaching Turn 3 as the two Alfa Romeo cars passed him while on timed laps in Q1. Hamilton admitted he had moved for Antonio Giovinazzi but was unaware of Raikkonen following, and released the brakes to run wide and try and get out of the Finn’s way.
Raikkonen was forced to abort his lap as a result of the incident and after an investigation from the stewards Hamilton was handed a three-place grid penalty.
“Car 44 had just come out of the pits and was informed of the cars approaching, including car 7,” the stewards’ decision read. “Although car 44 tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car 7 approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding car 7, which had to then abort the lap.”
Hamilton had originally qualified in second place but a quirk of the penalty system means he will only drop to fourth, courtesy of Kevin Magnussen’s gearbox penalty, and says he has no complaints at the decision that also included a solitary penalty point.
“Totally deserved the penalty today and have no problem accepting it,” Hamilton said. “Was a mistake on my behalf and I take full responsibility for it. It wasn’t intentional. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and an opportunity to rise.
“These things are sent to try us. We all have to push through whatever it is we are up against, whether it’s right or wrong, just continue to believe in yourself! We have the power to overcome obstacles even when they appear too large a task. Stay on course and never give up.”
George Russell also got a three-place grid penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat in Q1, only dropping one place to 18th due to Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz starting from the back of the grid as a result of power unit penalties.