Heikki Kovalainen gets five-place penalty

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Heikki Kovalainen has been given a five-place grid penalty for delaying Mark Webber during qualifying, as was speculated here during the Live Blog.

Kovalainen held up Webber during Q2 although it did not prevent the Red Bull driver from reaching the final part of qualifying.

We are yet to see official confirmation on where Kovalainen will start. He originally qualified sixth, and would ordinarily be moved back to 11th. However as Lewis Hamilton has been relegated from third to 13th, Kovalainen will start tenth as penalties are applied in the order which they are announced.

It makes it the second time this season both McLaren drivers have received grid penalties in the same race. Lewis Hamilton already has a ten-place penalty following his pit lane crash in Canada, and both were penalised at Sepang for slowing other drivers in qualifying.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Heikki Kovalainen gets five-place penalty”

  1. David Watkins
    21st June 2008, 16:45

    Had a feeling that could happen. Why on earth was he going so slowly round the last three corners? Shocking communication again by McClaren

    Which of the Ferraris was it dawdling on the racing line so that Heidfeld had to move around it on the way down to the Adelaide hairpin?

  2. what was that Keith about his luck having to change soon? ;)

  3. steve thompson
    21st June 2008, 17:48

    Ah…. here comes the pro Ferrari time of the season what do you think next McLaren banned in GB for being too silvery?

  4. I’d like to see the video again, wasn’t Kovi also behind another driver with nowhere to go?

  5. Robert McKay
    21st June 2008, 18:06

    Ron Dennis says they changed the Q3 strategy for Heikki once they realised he would be penalised, and that’s why he’s heavy and thus slow…

  6. With this penalty, could Alonso or Trulli get onto the podium?

    And wasn’t Kovi stuck behind Nakajima? Shouldn’t he get the penalty, or at least both of them?

  7. Agreed Steve, nothing about that Ferrari slowing right on the racing line during Bourdais early lap was there?

  8. This is a daft rule.

    I know that I was one of the first to say that there shouldn’t be the situation in qualifying whereby some drivers are on a fast lap at the same time as cars are returning to the pits to conserve fuel (creating a danger due to speed differences), but the resulting “keep within 120% of pole time” rule is only a token and doesn’t really solve the problem.

    Staying out of EVERY driver’s way coming up behind you is difficult enough in a Grand Prix – and then you can usually tell who is supposed to be at the front of the pack and therefore likely to be lapping you. That’s before you consider everything else going on during Q1, 2 and 3.
    There will always be traffic in qualifying. It’s part of a driver’s (and team’s) skill to get their car out onto a clear track. It’s not up to the authorities to penalise whenever they feel like it.

  9. H&S – I’m starting to worry he might think I’m jinxing him and come after me…

    Robert – That’s interesting, they must have been pretty certain he was going to get penalised. Will have to keep an eye on when he pits tomorrow.

  10. michael counsell
    21st June 2008, 19:20

    Are sure that both penalties aren’t applied equally? I’m sure theres been races where drivers have been pushed up a long way so that drivers with penalties are penalised correctly i.e 6th + 5 = 11th and 3 + 10 = 13th with only Vettel between the two Mclarens?

  11. He’s very lucky it’s only a 5 place penalty – repeat offences should be treated harsher.

  12. Michael, that certainly was the case in the past, but the rules say the penalties are applied in the order the offences are commited.

  13. Lady Snowcat
    21st June 2008, 20:26

    Now with Lewis light and on the fast side of the grid and Heikki slow on the dirty side….

    I wonder….

    What would you do if you were Heikki and Lewis came up behind?….

  14. If I saw a fast approaching Lewis coming up behind, I would probably brace myself for impact… ;)

  15. Well thats just typical isn’t it pro – ferrari jibes within F1. Remember Nassir Hussein in 2002. I do recall though in the eighties balestre was pro Prost. it was only the drivers not the teams it was biased to. I think it is stupid that i did seem to see a ferrari floating around and Kovalainen was behind Nakajima so why wasn’t he penalised. Typical, its a Ferrari track so they would of had the edge anyway and now the stewards are adding insult to injury for Mclaren. I saw it coming in the back of my mind. mclaren should not go blameless though but i think it is going to far.

  16. i didn’t see it today
    but does it matter?
    Kovi 6th or 11th what’s the difference!?
    he’s grey,not silver!

  17. Do drivers get blue flagged during practice to warn them to move over? Maybe better marshalling could eliminate this type of situation.

  18. MacademiaNut
    22nd June 2008, 1:26

    The current design of the tracks are the root cause of this. A driver on the track, will waste “two laps” of running before a hot lap begins, if he requires a tire change.

    1. From the starting grid, a complete lap and before completing he gets into the pits.
    2. Once you get out of the pits, you waste an entire lap before your hot lap begins.

    This is such an awful waste of running time. I would be in favor of having the start/finish before the pit entry. This way, the drivers once they complete their track will be on the track for very little time. This way, one would lose only one lap if you need a new set of tires.

  19. Terry Fabulous
    22nd June 2008, 2:51

    I love it Macademia. Great idea

  20. Interesting observation from Robert,I thought Kovi should have been further up the grid than he was. I still think Lewis will make it to 4th. The BMW must also be hoping for rain because they were nowhere on this track. That must have been their worst qualifying for over a year. The two Ferraris should romp off to a 1-2, unless it rains!!

Comments are closed.