Despite seemingly forcing Valtteri Bottas off the track at the Australian Grand Prix, Lance Stroll was not penalised and Alfa Romeo are confused as to why.
This year’s new F1 race directors, of which Niels Wittich was at the helm in Australia, laid out the rules of engagement to the drivers before the start of the new season.
They made it clear that any driver forcing another off the track would be penalised.
And yet Stroll wasn’t, despite it looking like a clear infringement at the Australian Grand Prix.
Racing Bottas, who was on the outside line, Stroll tried to pass the Finn but appeared to run him out of road, forcing Bottas to put his left side wheels onto the grass.
The driver told his team over the radio: “Stroll made me go off the track, just review the overtake.”
Stroll squeezes his way past Bottas
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 10, 2022
The stewards though took no action with Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar baffled by the decision.
“We expected him to get a penalty,” he told The Race, “it was not very nice that he didn’t, but there was no penalty.”
Bottas felt that Stroll’s racing was “on the limit”.
“It made me go off the track at some points,” he added. “I don’t think that’s ideal.
“But I know obviously he’s one of the more aggressive ones and that penalised him today.”
Stroll’s penalty on the day, though, was for weaving on the straight, not for his antics against Bottas.
As for Stroll, he says he caught Bottas napping and called their tussle “good racing”.
“He was sleeping on the Virtual Safety Car restart, so I caught him sleeping,” said the Aston Martin driver. “I felt that was good racing.”
Bottas finished the grand prix in eighth place while Stroll was outside the points in P12.
Alfa Romeo confused by decision not to penalise Stroll
After seemingly pushing Valtteri Bottas off the track, Lance Stroll escaped a penalty for the incident to the surprise of the Alfa Romeo pit wall.