Tsunoda hit with three-place grid drop for impeding Hamilton, Stroll cleared

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Yuki Tsunoda has been hit with a three-place grid drop for the Dutch Grand Prix after the stewards found he impeded Lewis Hamilton in qualifying.

However, Lance Stroll was cleared of the same offence by the stewards and will not face any penalties for Sunday’s race.

Hamilton was involved in two incidents in qualifying at Zandvoort, the first with Stroll in Q1 before a second with Tsunoda at the end of Q2.

The Mercedes driver was on his fourth push lap of Q1 with just over seven minutes remaining in the session having set personal best times over the opening two sectors. Stroll was preparing to begin his next flying lap when Hamilton caught him at turn 13, the penultimate corner. The Aston Martin driver did not give way to the Mercedes and remained ahead of him until reaching the timing line. Hamilton backed off and failed to improve his lap time.

“I got blocked,” Hamilton reported over team radio.

Later, in the final minutes of Q2, Hamilton was again improving on his last push lap of the session when he caught Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri – this time at the exit of turn 13. Tsunoda appeared to remain on the racing line but backed off to allow Hamilton to pass him before the banked final corner. Despite having to navigate around Tsunoda, Hamilton set a personal best final sector and improved over the lap, but was eventually eliminated in 12th.

The stewards investigated both incidents after the end of qualifying, speaking to all three drivers. As a result, the stewards handed a three-place grid penalty to Tsunoda for Sunday’s grand prix, deeming him to have impeded Hamilton.

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“Tsunoda was on the dry racing line at the exit of turn 13 preparing for his fast lap and had not fully come up to speed and therefore impeded Hamilton,” the stewards explained in their decision.

“Tsunoda explained that he had been passed by another car and decided to remain slow in order to regain his gap. In the opinion of the stewards, Tsunoda clearly had the ability to stay off the [racing] line and therefore this impeding was unnecessary.”

The decision drops Tsunoda from 14th on the grid to 17th, moving Nico Hulkenberg, Zhou Guanyu and Esteban Ocon up one place each.

The stewards took no further action against Stroll after deeming that the Aston Martin driver had acted in a reasonable manner in his incident with the Mercedes.

“The stewards observed that Stroll had stayed out of the way of several cars from turn 10 through turn 12,” the stewards explained. “He then started accelerating for the next lap early enough that he should have not impeded Hamilton.

“His speed at the apex of turn 13 was similar to fast cars at that point. However, at the exit of turn 13 he had not gained enough momentum and affected Hamilton’s lap.

“In the opinion of the stewards, while Hamilton was impeded, Stroll’s behaviour did not rise to the level of ‘unnecessarily impeding’ as specified in the regulations.”

Stroll will therefore retain his starting position of 11th for the Dutch Grand Prix, two places ahead of Hamilton in 13th.

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Tsunoda hit with three-place grid drop for impeding Hamilton, Stroll cleared”

  1. Unsurprising

  2. Tsunoda drives for “redbull” it’s expected…

    1. I could not have said that better.

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