Stewards hit Norris with five-place grid penalty

Date published: November 14 2020

Lando Norris (McLaren) Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

Lando Norris has been hit with a five-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags during Q1 for the Turkish Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver, who turned 21 on Friday practice day, was shown no birthday weekend leniency by the stewards who dropped him from P11 to P16 on the grid.

The indiscretion occurred during a chaotic qualifying session for the first Formula 1 race to be held in Istanbul since 2011, on a wet track that had been newly-resurfaced and made conditions treacherously slippery.

Heavy rain meant Q1 was red-flagged with just under seven minutes remaining. When it resumed, cars were spinning all over the circuit and Nicholas Latifi ‘beached’ his Williams in the gravel to bring out double waved yellow flags just as most drivers were on their final flying laps, trying to make the cut for Q2.

But while Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who was eliminated, claimed a number of rivals had failed to back off under the yellow flags, the stewards singled out only Norris and shock pole-sitter Lance Stroll for investigation.

Although Stroll was cleared, Norris was found guilty and became the second McLaren driver to fall foul of the stewards as his team-mate Carlos Sainz incurred a three-place grid drop for impeding Sergio Perez.

Lando Norris launches Quadrant

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The stewards’ statement on the Norris incident read: “Car 4 approached turn 8, which was under double waved yellow flags for Car 6 (Latifi). Telemetry shows that Car 4 slowed in the sector and resumed speed after the incident.

“Car 4 then asked his team if he should abort the lap, but was told to stay out because of the rapidly changing track conditions.

“Car 4 completed the lap, which turned out to be his fastest lap of Q1.

“While the stewards acknowledge that Car 4 was not attempting to set a quick lap time, due to the changing track conditions he nevertheless did so and thereby breached the referenced regulations.”

Norris was also given three penalty points, which brings him to a total of five within the current 12-month period.

Of his session as a whole, Norris said: “Today was too tricky for us to put the lap time in. It’s like trying to drive with your windscreen wipers off when it’s pouring with rain and you’re driving down a tight, narrow street with people everywhere.

“The cameras don’t do it justice in terms of how difficult it becomes to drive. When it gets too wet, as it was in Q1, these cars aren’t made to be driven like that.”

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