Maldonado handed three place penalty in Belgium
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium |
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) - Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado dropped from third to sixth place on the Belgian Grand Prix starting grid on Saturday after Formula One stewards ruled he had impeded Force India's Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying.
Stewards said the Williams driver had been warned by his team not to hold up Hulkenberg but clearly did so in the first phase of the session. Despite the incident, the German made the cut comfortably.
"As car 12 (Hulkenberg) continued into Q2 (the second phase) a more severe penalty was not considered appropriate," the stewards said.
The penalty moved Kimi Raikkonen, for Lotus, into third place for Sunday's race with Sauber's Mexican Sergio Perez fourth and Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso gaining a place in fifth.
Maldonado has now had five grid penalties this season and was accused by Perez of "not respecting other drivers" after being fined and reprimanded for causing a collision at Silverstone in July.
A winner in Barcelona in May, he then collected three grid penalties in two races - including a 10-place drop for colliding with Perez in Monaco final practice and needing an unscheduled gearbox change that cost five more places.
In Valencia he was given a time penalty for another collision with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton that cost Williams a precious point. He was also handed a five-place grid penalty in Canada for a gearbox change.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tim Hart)
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