Sebastian Vettel is under investigation while three other drivers are facing potential grid penalties as a result of their driving in the final part of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.
The stewards have summoned Vettel for allegedly “leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage” by running with all four wheels off track at Parabolica during his Q2 lap. While other drivers saw lap times deleted immediately for such a discretion, Vettel has only been summoned post-qualifying, with the Ferrari driver not completing another timed lap in Q2 but going on to qualify fourth overall.
There were also farcical scenes at the end of the final part of qualifying that warranted investigation. With nine cars heading out on track towards the end of Q3 following a red flag period due to a crash for Kimi Raikkonen, a slow out lap saw only two cars manage to start their final laps before the checkered flag came out.
The first three cars out on track were Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz, with all three driving slowly through the first part of the lap in an attempt to avoid being the lead car and therefore without a slipstream. Hulkenberg cut the first corner to try and rejoin behind the field, but Sainz and Stroll slowed side-by-side in order to ensure the Renault emerged ahead, which in turn blocked all the cars behind.
The stewards have already spoken to Hulkenberg about his decision to leave the track without a justifiable reason but decided they could not prove he left the track deliberately. After an investigation into the final run, they have now summoned the German, Stroll and Sainz to appear together.
Hulkenberg originally qualified sixth for Sunday’s race at Monza, with Sainz one of only two cars to start their final laps and ending up seventh. Stroll is due to start from 10th on the grid — behind Raikkonen — after not setting a time at all.