After an amazing qualifying session, the FIA were kept busy investigating penalties for the likes of pole sitter Lance Stroll, in addition to Sainz, Norris and Russell.

LANCE STROLL

Offence: Failure to slow for yellow flags.
Decision: No further action.

Stroll almost lost his maiden pole position after he was called to the stewards for failing to slow for his teammate Sergio Perez. It was deemed that Stroll slowed sufficiently for Perez at Turn 7 when Perez was “off track on the outside of the corner”.

In the final paragraph of the statement, competitors were reminded that they have the right to appeal the decision. This could be something that take the interest of second-place Verstappen, who was demoted from pole position at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix for a similar case of failing to slow for yellow flags.

LANDO NORRIS

Offence: Failure to slow for yellow flags.
Decision: Drop of five grid places and 3 penalty points.

This penalty has proved itself to be quite controversial. Like Stroll, Norris too made an effort to slow for the yellow flags – this time for the stranded car of Latifi. In both cases, the telemetry shows both cars slowed and it was decided that Norris did reduce his pace and then resumed speed after passing the incident.

So, why has Stroll not received a penalty and Norris been given a hefty grid drop? Quite simply, it is the number of yellow flags that were being waved at the time.

For Stroll, when he passed Perez just a single yellow flag was on display but in Lando’s case there were double-waved yellows.

Stroll did not pass anyone under his yellow flag situation and made it clear that he reduced speed, but when double-waved yellows are on display the rules are different.

A driver should “reduce speed significantly and be prepared to stop”, something that Norris and McLaren failed to do.

“Car 4 approached turn 8 which was under double waved yellow flags for Car 6 (Nicolas Latifi),” the FIA statement said.

“Telemetry shows that Car 4 slowed in the sector and resumed speed after the incident. Car 4 then asked his team if he should abort the lap, but was told to stay out because of the rapidly changing track conditions.

“Car 4 completed the lap, which turned out to be his fastest lap of Q1. While the stewards acknowledge that Car 4 was not attempting to set a quick lap time, due to the changing track conditions he nevertheless did so and thereby breached the referenced regulations.”

Lando Norris was penalised for failure to slow for yellow flags. © XPB Images
Lando Norris was penalised for failure to slow for yellow flags. © XPB Images

CARLOS SAINZ

Offence: Impeding Sergio Perez in Qualifying.
Decision: Drop of three grid places and 1 penalty point.

After hearing from Sainz, Perez and both team representatives it was decided that Checo was “caught up to [Sainz] in turn 2/3 and was unnecessarily impeded by [Sainz] at that point and through several subsequent turns”.

The FIA did note that “extraordinary track conditions” clearly impacted the situation, but radio communications warned Sainz that he had Perez behind him.

Sainz also picks up his only penalty point in the 12-month period.

GEORGE RUSSELL

Offence: Failure to slow for yellow flags.
Decision: Drop of five grid places and 3 penalty points.

A similar penalty to Norris, Russell was proven to slow for the double-waved yellows for Kvyat spinning off-track. However, after passing the incident, it was decided by the stewards he was not in control of his Williams.

“In the opinion of the stewards, he slowed insufficiently and did not have his car under full control as he approached and then passed Car 26.

“This lack of full control clearly breaches the regulations. The driver also set a meaningful lap time on this lap which in and of itself breaches the requirements set out by the Race Director’s notes.”

Fortunately for Russell, he was already starting at the back of the grid after he was forced to take a penalty for a fourth power unit to his car.

Russell was also handed three penalty points which takes his total up to six for the 12-month period.

George Russell © XPB Images
George Russell © XPB Images

A provisional starting grid was published Saturday evening, suggesting that there are no more penalties or drivers that are expected to be summoned to the stewards.