SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton was demoted from the front row to fifth on the starting grid for Formula One’s season opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday after a stewards’ review of his qualifying lap.
The Mercedes driver’s second place slot was cast into doubt shortly before the race when Red Bull called for stewards to review a decision to take no action against the Briton on Saturday.
The 35-year-old’s demotion means Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, winner in Austria at his team’s home track for the past two years, moves up to the front row with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas on pole position.
McLaren’s Lando Norris will start third, his team’s highest grid position since 2016, and Red Bull’s Alex Albon fourth.
The stewards also handed Hamilton, who is bidding to equal Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles this season, two penalty points.
They found that fresh on-board footage of Hamilton’s car had revealed a significant new element that was not available on Saturday.
“The new video footage clearly shows that a yellow light panel was flashing on the left side of the track in turn five,” they said in a statement. “A green light panel was flashing at the end of marshalling sector nine.”
The stewards consequently decided to reverse their decision and impose the penalty.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis