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Spanish Grand Prix 2013: Massa and Gutierrez penalised

11 May 2013

Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez have both been found guilty of blocking a rival during Saturday's qualifying session for the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Massa was found to have impeded Red Bull's Mark Webber during Q2. While the incident appeared fairly clearly cut on the TV footage - to Massa's detriment - the Brazilian had appeared confident that he wouldn't be penalised when he spoke to the media immediately afterwards.

"To be honest, I don't expect to see a penalty for me," Massa had told reporters in Spain. "I was pushing on the inside of the corner and trying not to create a battle with him.

"He was on the old tyres at that time. Nobody who got out on the old tyres passed to Q3 and so he's supposed to stop and put on the new tyres anyway. And when he put on new tyres he went faster with his tyres so I don't think I earned any penalty for this qualifying. Zero."

The stewards felt differently and docked Massa three grid positions for the start of Sunday's race dropping him from sixth place to ninth. That breaks up the all-Ferrari front row that Massa achieved with team mate Fernando Alonso, the two of them having lapped within a thousandth of a second of each other in Q3.

"Felipe doesn't do that on purpose, maybe the radio communication wasn't good for his car," said Webber, suggesting that the failure had been with the Ferrari pit wall not keeping its driver fully informed of the traffic on the track. He said that the incident had been disappointing, adding: "It is a frustrating thing for any of us top guys because we're always generally very good with each other."

Sauber driver Esteban Gutiérrez's offence occurred earlier in the qualifying session, when the young Mexican had been making his way back to pit lane at reduced sped and ended up getting caught through the final sector by Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen who was on a flying lap at the time.

Even though Raikkonen was able to go on and put in an even faster lap after the incident, Gutiérrez was also docked three grid positions for impeding the Lotus. That means he drops from a provisional 16th place on the grid to 19th, putting him behind both of the two Williams cars that had failed to progress to Q2 after a dismal qualifying session for the team.

See revised starting grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.


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