Daniel Ricciardo will start the Russian Grand Prix from fifth on the grid after avoiding a grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll during qualifying.
The McLaren driver got in Stroll’s way on the approach to Turn 2 in Q1, with both drivers going on to advance and the stewards opting to investigate the incident after the session. It transpired that Ricciardo was on a slow lap and had been told to move over for teammate Lando Norris, with McLaren assuming Stroll — who had just completed a lap — would also be backing off, but the Aston Martin driver continued pushing.
As Ricciardo took “immediate action” to get out of the way as soon as he saw Stroll, the stewards felt it “bordered on ‘unnecessary impeding’” and was therefore only worthy of a reprimand and a warning.
“Rearwards visibility was affected by the wet conditions and the driver of Car 3 (Ricciardo) was unaware of the approach of Car 18 (Stroll) and, in the opinion of the Stewards, would have been unable to see its approach in any case until the last moment,” the stewards’ decision read. “This was compounded by the spray from Car 4 (Norris) which had just passed Car 3.
“The Competitor (McLaren F1 Team) admitted it had made a wrong assumption that Car 18 was on a slow lap having just completed a fast lap, however in fact it was doing consecutive fast laps due to the improving (but wet) track conditions. It therefore did not inform the driver of the presence of Car 18.
“However, clearly the McLaren team made an error in not accurately monitoring the traffic behind Car 3 and therefore an Official Warning is issued to the Competitor and it is noted that a similar failure in future could result in an additional monetary or other penalty to the Competitor (and the relevant Driver).”
Ricciardo will start from fifth on Sunday behind teammate Norris on pole, Carlos Sainz, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.