Kevin Magnussen will drop three places on the grid for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after he was penalised for impeding Charles Leclerc in qualifying.Alexander Albon for an incident in qualifying but decided against penalising Lewis Hamilton following another investigation.
Magnussen was the only Haas driver to reach Q2 around a damp Spa-Francorchamps in Friday qualifying, but was knocked out in 13th place.
On his penultimate timed lap in the session with under two minutes remaining, Magnussen slid off the track at Speaker’s Corner, the left-hander of turn nine where multiple drivers went wide track during qualifying. The Haas hit the barrier with the rear, but quickly rejoined the track, and was soon caught by Leclerc who was on a flying lap.
After being told to “keep pushing, Leclerc right behind you”, Magnussen only yielded to the Ferrari through Blanchimont, eventually beginning his final lap with just two seconds remaining in the session. Leclerc fell into the drop zone when the chequered flag flew, but managed to jump safely into the top ten after his final effort put him third.
“I don’t know who that guy was – the Haas – but I hope he gets a penalty,” Leclerc told his team over the radio after Q2.
The stewards announced they would investigate the incident after qualifying and, after consulting with both drivers, handed Magnussen a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s grand prix. That will leave him 16th on the grid.
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“Magnussen explained that he did not feel it was safe to move off onto the wet at speed and give room to Leclerc, particularly in the turns between 11 and 15,” the stewards explained in their decision.
“The stewards observed that he did not receive a warning from his team that Leclerc was behind until Leclerc was right behind him at turn 10. The team also told him to push, as he needed to make it to the line to get another lap.
“Whether it was his failure to slow and yield following his accident, or whether it was the team’s failure to give information early enough that he could have pulled off earlier, or whether it was the instruction to push through the lap; in any case the stewards determine that he unnecessarily impeded Leclerc.”
The stewards also handed Alexander Albon his first reprimand of the season for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner after running off at Bruxelles at the end of Q1. He returned to the track in front of Pierre Gasly, before yielding to the Alpine driver on the approach to Pouhon.
Despite accepting that Albon “was always going to have to rejoin on the line” the stewards determined the Williams driver “could have done more to ensure that he rejoined safely while another car was approaching.”
A further investigation into Lewis Hamilton for leaving the track at Raidillon early in Q2 and rejoining in front of his team mate George Russell resulted in no further action against the Mercedes driver.
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“Hamilton explained that he had been warned of the approach of Bottas and moved out of the way, in this case off-track,” they noted.
“Russell explained that he had the same warning but moved out of the way later. He also explained that as he was on the same program as Hamilton he was fully aware of what Hamilton was doing and that at no point was the manoeuvre unsafe. The Stewards agree and take no further action.”
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