Tsunoda handed grid penalty for impeding Hamilton during qualifying

Tsunoda handed grid penalty for impeding Hamilton during qualifying

Yuki Tsunoda was handed a three-place grid penalty after it was determined that the AlphaTauri driver had impeded Lewis Hamilton during the Dutch Grand Prix qualifying session.

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda was found to have impeded Lewis Hamilton during today’s qualifying session at Zandvoort, and the stewards handed him a three-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix.

After qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix, the FIA stewards talked to both drivers regarding an incident and after reviewing video footage, team radio and relevant data, Tsunoda looked to have slowed down Hamilton in the last moments of Q2.

“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 reported.

“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 line and therefore this impeding was unnecessary.”

Tsunoda’s three-place grid penalty means he has dropped to 17th place as a result of the incident. This means Esteban Ocon from Alpine, Zhou Guanyu from Alfa Romeo, and Nico Hulkenberg from Haas all receive one place gains.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had already expressed his displeasure with the Japanese driver’s behavior, calling it “pretty ugly.”

“Tsunoda’s a nice guy but he impeded Lewis on his quick lap,” he stated. “He didn’t move from the dry line. He dived on the inside.

“It didn’t look like it cost much, but going from a dry line to a wet line and back onto dry line cost [Lewis].

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“I think a tenth would have put him into Q3… Lewis had really good pace all weekend and it’s really painful to see that – because of traffic – you’re not making use of going into Q3, which he would have deserved.”

Hamilton was also allegedly the victim of another impeding incident, this time involving Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, although the stewards chose not to take any further action in this case.

“Stroll was on a prep lap and Hamilton was on a fast lap both approaching turn 13,” the statement explained.

“The stewards observed that Stroll had stayed out of the way of several cars from turn 10 through turn 12.

“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.

“At the exit of turn 13 he had not gained enough momentum and affected Hamilton’s lap [but] 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.”

The stewards had already decided against looking into Hamilton’s near-miss with Fernando Alonso, Stroll’s teammate, during the session.

Oscar Piastri, however, received a reprimand and his team was fined 5000 euros for failing to warn Carlos Sainz in time after a close brush at turn 2 as the Ferrari emerged from pit lane and got right in front of the McLaren.

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