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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Gasly handed two grid penalties for impeding in Barcelona F1 qualifying

Alpine Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly has racked up two grid penalties to provisionally start the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix from 10th after impeding rivals in qualifying at Barcelona.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Gasly initially ran to the fourth fastest time in Q3, with his 1m12.816s flying lap placing him 0.544s off Red Bull's runaway polesitter Max Verstappen.

That effort might have marked Gasly’s best starting position since he lined up in second place for the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix. However, he has been hit with two lots of three-place grid penalties after being found guilty of blocking Verstappen and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who ran to second in qualifying.

Both incidents occurred in Q1, with Sainz held up at Turn 13. In that case, the stewards noted Gasly’s defence that he was aware of the Ferrari but felt he could not avoid blocking the SF-23 owing to the high-speed delta between the cars.

But the FIA deemed that Gasly might have moved further to the right at the exit of the corner.

Gasly was also pinged for delaying Verstappen through the long Turn 4. In this incident, blame was laid on Alpine for not giving its driver sufficient warning to move over. The team had informed Gasly that approaching cars were on a slow lap.

Speaking prior to the penalties being handed out, Gasly said: “I haven't seen any replays.

"All I can say is I've tried my best with the information that I was given at the time.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Whatever happened wasn't intentional, obviously. We just need to review exactly what's happened.”

As per Charles Leclerc’s three-place grid drop for the previous round in Monaco for a similar offence on Lando Norris, Gasly will not have any penalty points added to his race licence.

The French racer had run the risk in late 2022 of having to miss a race for racking up too many points, with Gasly notably pinged for driving too fast in red-flag conditions in Japan.

But following the passing of the cancelled Emilia Romagna GP weekend, his penalty total dropped to eight points since one calendar year had passed since committing an earlier offence in Spain.

On his strong qualifying performance, but knowing a penalty was likely, Gasly added: “For now, I am P4. For now, I've done a very strong lap.

“I must say, I'm very happy for the team because it's the best qualifying of the season. I'm just happy with the evolution we've been showing throughout the last few weekends. 

Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team, signs autographs for fans

Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team, signs autographs for fans

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“It’s still early in the season, and I am still learning about the team every weekend. They're learning about myself. It's about putting things together. I really feel like every weekend, we're making a step forward.

“It was a very strong lap. I'm always looking further ahead. When I see Carlos in second less than tenth away, it really shows we got potential in the package that we have.”

As a result of the penalties, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will climb a place on the grid to fourth behind McLaren’s Lando Norris.

 

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