George Russell will drop two places at the start of Sunday’s race. Alpine riders received the same penalty.
Since the Italian Grand Prix, the race director defines the maximum time, which also applies to the exit laps. But the measure led to a different effect. Drivers started to create gaps at the end of the pit lane where they would slow down or even stop.
There has been a change at Interlagos. The drivers must keep a distance between the exit from the pits (behind the lights) and the second safety car line.
In the remarks of the race director, Niels Wittich stated “(…) During the shoot-out and qualifying, drivers can create a gap between the lights at the pit exit and the SC2 line (safety car line 2, editor’s note). Any driver wishing to do so must drive as far to the left as possible to allow other drivers to overtake on the right side of the pit exit.’
But Russell didn’t stick too far to the left and prevented Gasly from getting around him. He received a penalty for this and will drop two places at the start. Originally, Russell qualified sixth. His penalty will benefit Norris and Sainz, who will move up one position.
Alpine riders also received a penalty
Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly also received the same penalty.
The penalty for falling two places is more lenient than the penalty for blocking on the track – in these cases a penalty of three places is usually given.