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Hamilton to start fourth in Austria after grid penalty

By Opta
Lewis Hamilton

Spielberg (Austria), June 30: Lewis Hamilton will start the Austrian Grand Prix from fourth after being handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen.

During qualifying, race stewards announced they would be investigating after Hamilton was alleged to have blocked Alfa Romeo's Raikkonen in Q1.

Championship leader Hamilton ultimately qualified in second place, behind Charles Leclerc – who claimed his second Formula One pole position – and ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Leclerc claims superb pole in Austria

Verstappen, who won last year's race in Spielberg, was the biggest beneficiary of the decision as he was promoted to the front row with Leclerc.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas moved up to third, but - despite what Mercedes and F1 initially reported - Hamilton will start fourth ahead of Lando Norris due to the complex method used when applying penalties. Norris qualified sixth and had already moved higher than his initial position after Kevin Magnussen - who was fifth - received a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change. But he will not move up again and starts behind his fellow Briton Hamilton.

Hamilton to start fifth in Austria after grid penalty

Raikkonen was on a flying lap in the run up to turn three, while Hamilton, who appeared to make a late move to get out of the way, was not.

"Although car 44 tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car seven approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding car seven, which had to then abort the lap," read the stewards' official decision.

"It was determined that car 44 unnecessarily impeded car seven at turn three."

The two drivers and team representatives were called to speak to the stewards after qualifying, and video evidence was reviewed. Raikkonen said over team radio at the time of the incident: "Hamilton completely blocked me."

Raikkonen still made it into Q3 and came seventh, though the Finn will start sixth due to the punishment given to Haas' Magnussen.

"I don't know why he slowed down and didn't let me pass," Raikkonen told reporters before the decision was announced.

"He kind of slowed down and then sped up on the racing line, but we'll see what happens."

Hamilton, meanwhile, said: "I saw one of the team's cars came by, I was braking for the hairpin, turn three, saw the other one coming and got on the brakes and went on.

"I didn't meet them in the corner but I put them off. I wasn't aware of the car coming but it was not the easiest."

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Story first published: Sunday, June 30, 2019, 1:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 30, 2019
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