Tsunoda receives F1 grid drop for blocking Bottas in Styria Q3

Yuki Tsunoda has received a three-place grid penalty for impeding Valtteri Bottas in qualifying for the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Tsunoda receives F1 grid drop for blocking Bottas in Styria Q3

Tsunoda matched his best F1 qualifying result to date by taking eighth place in Q3 at the Red Bull Ring, reaching the final stage of the session for the second time in three races.

But the AlphaTauri driver faced a post-qualifying investigation from the stewards after Bottas felt he had been blocked during one of his Q3 hot laps, calling Tsunoda a “f**king idiot” over the radio.

Tsunoda said after qualifying that he had not been told by his team that Bottas was approaching until the braking zone and wanted to avoid a “big shunt” by moving to the inside.

But the race stewards in Austria looked dimly on the incident, handing Tsunoda a three-place grid penalty for impeding Bottas and one penalty point on his FIA super licence.

“Car 22 had just completed a fast lap and had communication from the team that he was now on an inlap,” the stewards’ report reads.

“The team did not warn Car 22 of the approach of Car 77 on a fast lap. Car 77 approached Car 22 at the entry to Turn 4. Car 22 was on the racing line, and while he attempted to move off the racing line to the outside, he did impede car 77 unnecessarily.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

“It is the responsibility of every driver to be aware of faster cars when they are on a slow lap. The team should have assisted the driver in being aware of the approaching faster car, but such lack of communication is not an excuse for the driver.”

The penalty drops Tsunoda to 11th place on the grid, promoting Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll and George Russell one position each as a result.

The setback comes after a strong showing thus far from Tsunoda at the Red Bull Ring after he looked to change his approach to qualifying following a crash in Q1 last Saturday.

“It was a really good step from last week,” Tsunoda said.

“I think the pace was there from FP1. The team did a really good job from FP1, and for me, it was completely relaxed for this week, and qualifying, I just had to put it altogether.

“In the end, I was able to put it altogether and be top eight. I’m happy.”

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