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GP2 Sochi: Nasr hit by qualifying penalty

Felipe Nasr's dwindling hopes of stopping Jolyon Palmer from clinching the 2014 GP2 title took a blow after he was handed a grid penalty for impeding during qualifying.
Carlin's Felipe Nasr has been demoted to 12th place on the grid for Saturday's feature race start following an incident that took place early in Friday's qualifying session at the brand new 3.634-mile, 18-turn Sochi Autodrom circuit.

Nasr survived an early scare when he off-roaded through the final corner while on a hot lap, and next time around tip-toed slowly through the same corner while preparing for his next flying lap.

So preoccupied did he appear, he apparently failed to notice Racing Engineering's Stefano Coletti approaching rapidly from behind. Nasr strayed into Coletti's racing line and there was light contact which spun the Carlin around and also wrecked Coletti's early qualifying attempt.

The incident was reviewed by the race stewards who deemed that Nasr had impeded Coletti in a reckless manner, and accordingly handed him a three-place grid penalty that drops him back from the tenth place in which he eventually finished the qualifying session.

However, Nasr's situation is slightly alleviated by the fact that Caterham Racing's Pierre Gasly has to serve a five-place grid penalty of his own that was handed to him for an incident that took place in the Sunday sprint race at Monza last month.

Gasly was blamed for an early collision with Russian Time's Artem Markelov which put both cars into the left-hand barrier in the run down to the Parabolica on the opening lap of the race. Since he immediately retired from the race and was unable to serve a drive-thru penalty for the incident, it was converted to a grid drop at Sochi instead.

Gasly completed Friday's qualifying session in 11th place just behind Nasr. Nasr's three place penalty nominally drops the Brazilian down to 13th place on the grid, but Gasly's penalty puts the young Frenchman down to 16th place and as a result also promotes Nasr back up a place to 12th.

Nasr's prospects for Saturday's race were also given a slight overnight boost when the Carlin team tracked down the reason behind his car's relatively poor pace on Friday.

"Hard day here in Sochi," Nasr subsequently tweeted. "We found the problem with the car that we had from the first moment on track today. Tomorrow we will be competitive!"

Revised GP2 feature race grid

1. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix
2. Arthur Pic Campos Racing
3. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix
4. Jolyon Palmer DAMS
5. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering
6. Mitch Evans Russian Time
7. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing
8. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering
9. André Negrao Arden International
10. Sergio Canamasas Trident
11. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus
12. Felipe Nasr * Carlin
13. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport
14. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing
15. Marco Sorensen MP Motorsport
16. Pierre Gasly ** EQ8 Caterham Racing
17. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport
18. Johnny Cecotto Jr. Trident
19. Julian Leal Carlin
20. Tio Ellinas Rapax
21. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS
22. Rene Binder Arden International
23. Artem Markelov Russian Time
24. Simon Trummer Rapax
25. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport
26. Sergio Campana Venezuela GP Lazarus

* 3-place grid penalty for impeding another driver in qualifying
** 5-place grid penalty for causing a collision at previous event

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Felipe Nasr (BRA) Carlin
Luca Ghiotto - Trident Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Luca Ghiotto - Trident Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Sergio Canamasas - Carlin
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Sergey Sirotkin - ART Grand Prix
Sergey Sirotkin - ART Grand Prix
Sergey Sirotkin - ART Grand Prix
Pierre Gasly - Prema Racing
Norman Nato - Racing Engineering
Pierre Gasly - Prema Racing

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