Romain Grosjean handed one-race ban after first-corner pile-up at Belgian Grand Prix


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The Independent Online

Romain Grosjean has been handed a one-race ban for his part in the first-corner pile-up during today's Belgian Grand Prix.

His team Lotus confirmed the punishment had been handed down by race stewards after he appeared to be at the centre of the crash at La Source.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was clipped by Grosjean as he attempted to cut across the Briton.

As the rear-right tyre of Grosjean's car hit the front-left of Hamilton's, it sparked a chain reaction which resulted in the exit of four cars.

As the mayhem unfolded Grosjean and Hamilton collected Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, the latter duo having started from fifth and fourth.

On-board replays showed Grosjean's Lotus flying over the front of the Ferrari, missing the head of the Spaniard by inches.

After clambering out of their wrecked cars Hamilton could be seen tapping his right forefinger against his helmet at Grosjean, obviously blaming the Frenchman for the accident.

The safety car was immediately deployed, staying out for the opening four laps, with eventual race winner Jenson Button leading a procession of cars, followed by Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta.

Grosjean was also handed a fine of 50,000 euros (£40,000) by the stewards who deemed what unfolded "an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others".

In their conclusion, the stewards added: "It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.

"The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgment.

"Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty."

Although reminded of their right of appeal, Lotus have decided they will not do so, which means reserve Jerome D'Ambrosio is likely to step in for next Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.