Daniel Ricciardo has been given two five-second penalties for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, resulting in 10 seconds being added to his race time from the French Grand Prix and dropping the Renault driver from seventh to 11th position.
The decision was implemented by race stewards some two and a half hours after the chequered flag following a dramatic final lap, in which Ricciardo ran wide and had all four wheels off the track at the Mistral chicane in attempting to pass an ailing Lando Norris. The Australian forced the McLaren driver wide and off the track as a result, before then taking all four wheels off the track again to pass Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen on the second part of the Mistral Straight as he battled with the Finn as well as teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who had both made it past Norris.
Ricciardo had already been placed under investigation for doing the same to Romain Grosjean in running all four wheels off the track.
During the post-race hearing, stewards decided that the two incidents should be treated separately as Ricciardo had regained control of his car before the second. Stewards decided that the Australian had “left the circuit and re-joined unsafely forcing another driver off the track,” adding: “Ricciardo started to pass Norris on the outside at Turn 8. At the exit of the corner he distinctly left the track and the stewards determined that he re-joined at an angle that forced Norris off the track to avoid the collision.
“The stewards accepted Ricciardo’s explanation that when he was re-joining the track, he had slowed considerably, going down extra gears and locking up the front left tyre. He also stated that the rumble strips in the turn made the car more difficult to control.
“However, the stewards considered that the sequence of events constituted re-joining the track unsafely, and he subsequently took the position from Norris.”
Addressing the second move on Raikkonen, the FIA said: “Following the incident at turn 8 with Norris, Raikkonen managed to pass both Norris and Ricciardo. Ricciardo, who by then had regained control of his car then chased Raikkonen from turn 9 and subsequently passed Raikkonen. Raikkonen defended his position on the straight moving slightly to the right.
“However, Raikkonen never put any part of his car off the track and he did not make any move to the right while any part of Ricciardo’s car was alongside, and did not crowd Ricciardo off the track. To make the pass Ricciardo drove off track and then subsequently completed the pass, gaining a lasting advantage.
“The stewards reviewed the case to see if it was a continuation of the previous incident. However, Ricciardo clearly had regained control of the car following his incident with Norris and the pass off-track was a separate incident.”
The penalty promotes Raikkonen to seventh, Hulkenberg to eighth and Norris to ninth, with the British driver looking on course for a healthy points haul in seventh until hydraulic issues saw him fall back from teammate Carlos Sainz and into the clutches of the chasing pack on the final lap.
Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly was promoted to 10th, with Raikkonen ending the day without any points.
However, he took the decision well, posting an immediate response on Twitter that said: “No regrets. I tried. Would rather that than sit back without a heart.”
Speaking before the penalty decision, Ricciardo admitted that he wasn’t concerned by the investigation and that he is still getting to grips with overtaking in the Renault, having switched from Red Bull at the start of the season.
"To be honest, all jokes aside, every time I'm braking late and deep trying to make a move, I'm struggling to pull the car up," Ricciardo said.
"It's better than the start of the year but I'm still not quite where I was with Red Bull.
"But the thing is, if I don't try, I'm sitting behind him the whole race so I have to try, but when I do try it's sometimes a bit on the limit. I'm obviously trying to keep it on track and not be dirty."
The incident comes in the wake of Sebastian Vettel’s penalty that cost him Canadian Grand Prix victory two weeks ago, when the Ferrari driver was given a five-second penalty for making a mistake and going off the track that resulted in an unsafe return, having blocked Lewis Hamilton from overtaking.
Vettel was furious with the decision and criticised stewards for not letting drivers race anymore, with the fallout set to continue on how race penalties are being implemented in Formula One.
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