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Grosjean penalised for Valencia sprint crash

27 June 2011

Dams driver Romain Grosjean will lose ten grid positions for the start of the feature race at Silverstone in two weeks time, after being found to be responsible for causing an avoidable collision at the start of the Valencia sprint race on Sunday.

Grosjean - who is the points leader in the GP2 championship coming out of this weekend's fourth round of the 2011 season - collided with Sam Bird as the cars went through turn 3 and Grosjean found himself sandwiched in between Bird on the right hand inside line and Davide Valsecchi on the outside.

The contact briefly lifted Grosjean's car into the air, and caused Bird to miss his braking point and catch the back of Valsecchi's AirAsia team mate Luiz Razia directly ahead who was battling for second place with eventual race winner Esteban Gutierrez. The contact damaged Bird's front wing and left him struggling for the rest of the race, even after the wing was changed in the pits.

Grosjean also paid for the contact when he went on to spin in turn 5, stalling on the apex of the exit and collecting Charles Pic and Rodolfo Gonzalez when they had the misfortune to be the first cars to arrive on the scene and had insufficient time to avoid the stationary Dams car. The three-car wreck required the crane to come on to the track to remove them, and the race was placed under a safety car as a result.

The stewards took the decision that this had all stemmed from Grosjean's attempt to try diving between Valsecchi and Bird at the earlier corner, and duly handed him the ten-place grid penalty for the next GP2 race - which will be the feature race at Silverstone in the Great Britain round on 8-10 July.

The penalty will make it difficult for Grosjean to hold on to the series lead through the next round, as he has only a single point advantage over Barwa Addax's Giedo van der Garde, who was one of the most consistent performers at Valencia with a second and third place in the feature and sprint races.

Valsecchi and Bird - the two cars involved in the incident for which Grosjean was penalised - are four and seven points behind Grosjean respectively and also stand to gain from Grosjean's Silverstone handicap.

No other penalties were announced after the sprint race, unlike the busy period following the feature race which saw grid penalties handed to four different drivers for four different incidents - including one for Grosjean's Dams team mate, Pal Varhaug.


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