Norris onto Imola front row after Piastri grid penalty

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Norris onto Imola front row after Piastri grid penalty

Oscar Piastri has been demoted from second to fifth on the grid for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after receiving a penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in qualifying.

The McLaren driver produced his best qualifying performance of the season to finish second behind Max Verstappen in Imola but was punished for an incident that occurred in Q1, leaving his team-mate Lando Norris to inherit a front-row spot.

With Magnussen attempting to get himself out of the drop zone in the closing moments of the session, Piastri was unaware of the Haas coming up behind him and clearly blocked the Dane at Turn Two.

Magnussen’s lap was ruined and he could only qualify 18th, with the incident of particular frustration given Haas had a strong enough pace for his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to reach Q3.

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Highlights of qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

More than two hours after qualifying finished, the stewards confirmed Piastri’s demotion, explaining that a late warning from McLaren had left the Australian unable to “safely avoid impeding”.

Norris’ hopes of backing up his maiden F1 victory last time out in Miami are boosted by the Brit’s promotion to second, while Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz move up to third and fourth, respectively.

Piastri will now start ahead of the Mercedes of George Russell and faces a major challenge to secure a podium despite McLaren’s impressive pace, given the difficulty of overtaking at Imola.

Emilia Romagna GP Starting Grid – Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Lando Norris, McLaren

3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

5) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

6) George Russell, Mercedes

7) Yuki Tsunoda, RB

8) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

9) Daniel Ricciardo, RB

10) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

Piastri: I was short on options

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Second-placed Oscar Piastri reacts to being told that Max Verstappen receiving a tow from Nicolas Hulkenberg could have resulted in Verstappen claiming pole

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 before the stewards’ decision had been made, Piastri explained that he had only been made aware of the fast-approaching Haas at the last moment.

“I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see anyone coming,” he said.

“Here, you’re coming with such a big speed difference that I looked for a long time and didn’t see anyone.

“And then I got told quite late that he was on a push lap, and I tried to go, but you’re kind of short on options at that point.”

The stewards’ decision in full

“The stewards heard from the driver of Car ​81 (Oscar Piastri), the driver of Car ​20 (Kevin Magnussen), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, team provided telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence.

“Piastri was exiting the pits and Magnussen was on his fast lap. Piastri impeded Magnussen at the chicane at Turns 2 and 3.

“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.

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Watch Max Verstappen claim his 39th career pole at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix!

“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 Turn 2/3. 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.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Emilia Romagna GP schedule

F1 visits Europe for the first time in 2024 with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola

Sunday May 19
7.30am: F3 Feature Race
9am: F2 Feature Race
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Emilia Romagna GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag: Emilia Romagna GP reaction
5pm: Ted’s Notebook
8pm: Indy 500 Qualifying

Formula 1 heads to Europe as Imola returns to the calendar following last year’s cancelled race. Watch the Emilia Romagna GP this weekend, with Sunday’s race at 2pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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