Imola qualifying result changes as Lando Norris affected by rival’s grid drop

May 19, 2024

Oscar Piastri was investigated for impeding Kevin Magnussen during qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and the F1 stewards decided his actions were worthy of punishment

Piastri went second quickest behind only Max Verstappen during qualifying at Imola. And team-mate Lando Norris was third behind him to give McLaren the option of a two-pronged attack on the pole-sitter at the start of the race.

However, that has now been taken away from them. Piastri was accused of impeding Kevin Magnussen during the session and the stewards chose to investigate the incident. And they came to the conclusion that the Aussie’s actions warranted punishment. He was handed a three-place grid drop, meaning he will now start the race fifth.

Team-mate Norris will inherit second place, while the punishment is also great news for the locals in Italy. Both Ferrari drivers move up a place on the starting grid, Charles Leclerc to third and Carlos Sainz to fourth, as a result of Piastri’s infraction.

Explaining the decision, the stewards wrote: “Piastri was exiting the pits and Magnussen was on his fast lap. Piastri impeded Magnussen at the chicane at turns two and three. The stewards accepted the explanation of Piastri that because of the layout of the circuit at that location, he could not see Magnussen until it was too late, at which time he tried to accelerate away in order to get clear of Magnussen as quickly as possible.

“Magnussen acknowledged that it was difficult for drivers to see cars behind in many portions of the track, including here. However, the Stewards reviewed the team radio and Piastri’s team did not warn him of the much faster approaching car until Magnussen was too close for Piastri to do anything to safely avoid impeding.

“In fact, there was an approximately 140km/h speed differential and Magnussen was only approximately 40-50m behind at the time and this meant that Piastri was in the middle of the chicane when Magnussen caught up directly behind Piastri. Further, it was clear that Magnussen was on a fast lap since his exit of Turn 19.

The stewards also reviewed where other drivers were warned of approaching cars and it was significantly earlier, and they were able to avoid impeding at turns two and three. Traffic management for slower cars is an extremely important part of the team/driver combination, particularly in Q1. In this instance the stewards determine that the lack of sufficient warning caused an ‘unnecessary impeding’.”

Reacting to the news of the penalty, team principal Andrea Stella said: “We made our points to the stewards. If this is the assessment and the judgement of the stewards then we respect it. We need to improve our operations, move on and hopefully tomorrow we will recover the positions that we lost today on the grid.”