Russell, Alpine pair hit with penalties for pit lane impeding in Sao Paulo

George Russell, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly have been hit with a two-place grid penalty after the stewards deemed that they didn’t follow the race director’s instructions.
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship,…

For this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the FIA announced that drivers would be banned from waiting in the pit lane during qualifying.

The tactic has been used by a number of drivers, most notably Max Verstappen in Singapore, as a way to build a gap before starting their hot laps in qualifying.

Drivers were advised to keep to the left when exiting the pit lane if they wanted to create a gap, however, several drivers failed to follow the race director's instructions and thus were penalised.

Russell is the first driver to have broken the new rule, picking up a two-place grid penalty.

The stewards noted: “Russell was exiting the pits, preparing for an out lap. Rusell went slow to create a gap for a clear lap, but did not manage to stay completely to the left. As a result, following car(s) were not able to overtake, as intended by the Race Director’s instructions. 

“This clearly violates the wording and the spirit of item 14 of the Race Director’s Event Notes.”

It means Russell will start Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix from eighth on the grid.

Alpine duo Ocon and Gasly were also handed two-place grid penalties for the same offence.

They will start 14th and 15th on the grid.

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