Tsunoda docked three places for impeding Hamilton in F1 Dutch GP qualifying

Yuki Tsunoda has been dealt a three-place grid penalty for blocking Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for Formula 1’s 2023 Dutch Grand Prix.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

The stewards have ruled that the AlphaTauri driver failed to satisfactorily move off the dry racing line through Turn 13 during Q2 while preparing for a push-lap.

In doing so, he impeded seven-time world champion Hamilton, who subsequently failed to progress into the top 10 shootout and will start 13th.

Tsunoda, who ran 14th fastest, will therefore drop provisionally behind Nico Hulkenberg, Zhou Guanyu and Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.

The repairs required for Q3 crashers Logan Sargeant and Charles Leclerc may plausibly lead to one or both taking a grid penalty or a pit lane start.

The stewards noted: “Tsunoda was on the dry racing line at the exit of Turn 13 preparing for his fast lap and had not fully come up to speed and therefore impeded Hamilton.

“Tsunoda explained that he had been passed by another car and decided to remain slow in order to regain his gap.

“In the opinion of the stewards, Tsunoda clearly had the ability to stay off the line and therefore this impeding was unnecessary.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff reckoned it was “really painful” to see Hamilton fail to make Q3 owing to the “ugly” impeding and called on the FIA to take stricter action more often to act as a deterrent.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Both Aston Martin drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll have escaped punishment for their potential involvement in blocking Hamilton earlier in the session.

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Meanwhile, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has been handed a first reprimand of the season and the team dealt a €5000 fine for his brush with Oscar Piastri that forced the McLaren driver onto the grass.

Sainz was leaving the pits and pinched Piastri over the kerbs.

The stewards met with both drivers and deemed it to be a “potentially dangerous” manoeuvre from Sainz, who “immediately moved to the racing line”.

The FIA also noted that only Piastri’s avoiding action prevented a crash. But, having listened to the team radio from Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas (directly ahead of Sainz at the pit exit), they ruled that the Finn had been given ample warning but Sainz had not. Therefore, Ferrari should pay the fine.

The ruling stated: “By comparison, Sainz was warned not to cross the white line at the exit of the pits, and was not warned about Piastri until he was already alongside.

“Sainz explained that he had briefly caught sight of Piastri as he was rounding Turn 1 at the pit exit and gauged that Piastri was on a slow lap.

“From then on, he did not see Piastri because of the relative angle of the cars. He also explained that he was trying to get to the drying line as quickly as possible.”

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