Lewis Hamilton drops to fourth on Austrian GP grid after penalty
Hamilton takes "full responsibility" for blocking Raikkonen after stewards hand him three-place grid drop; Hamilton down to fourth for Sunday's race, with Leclerc and Verstappen on front row
By James Galloway and Matt Morlidge in Spielberg
Last Updated: 30/06/19 2:32pm
Lewis Hamilton has been given a three-place penalty and will now start fourth on the Austrian GP grid for blocking Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen is promoted to the front row to join Ferrari polesitter Charles Leclerc.
Owing to the complex way in which F1 penalties are applied, and the fact original fifth-placed qualifer Kevin Magnussen also has a grid drop, Hamilton only actually loses two places in the order and will start on the second row next to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
"Totally deserved the penalty today and have no problem accepting it," Hamilton said on Instagram.
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"Was a mistake on my behalf and I take full responsibility for it. It wasn't intentional. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and an opportunity to rise."
Stewards ruled: "Although car 44 [Hamilton] tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car seven [Raikkonen] approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding car seven."
Williams' George Russell was another driver to gain a three-place grid drop on Saturday night for impeding another car and Mercedes boss Wolff accepted the stewards application of the rules.
"The rulebook says if you impede somebody and it's clear then you get a three-place penalty," Wolff said. "I think it's not the driver's fault because he didn't see him. These things happen, and there is precedent for it. I think from our perspective we have to accept it."
With a gearbox penalty already dropping Haas' Magnussen out of what was fifth, McLaren's Lando Norris gains one place to fifth with Raikkonen sixth.
Revised Austrian GP Grid: Top 10
1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
5. Lando Norris, McLaren
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
7. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
8. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull
9. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
10. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
Great job today from @Charles_Leclerc who has driven well all weekend. Grateful for the team effort, although for us not a perfect day but we win and we lose together. Tomorrow is a new day and a chance for us to Rise together. #TeamLH, need all the energy we can get 💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/1rlLMwPmPm— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 29, 2019
Why was Hamilton penalised?
The incident between Hamilton and Raikkonen occurred during Q1 when the Alfa Romeo was on a hot lap on the run-up to Turn Three.
Hamilton appeared to spot Raikkonen very late and, as he was on the inside of the corner, elected to run straight on and off the track in an attempt to get out of the way.
But Raikkonen complained on team radio: "Hamilton completely blocked me."
Raikkonen later told Sky F1: "He kind of slowed down and then sped up on the racing line."
Hamilton offered his explanation of the incident afterwards, claiming: "One car came by and I was braking for the hairpin at Turn Three and then another one was coming, so I got off the brakes and tried to go straight on to try to get out of the way because I didn't want to meet them in the corner.
"I don't think I met them in the corner but I would have thought that would have put them off.
"It wasn't ideal. I wasn't aware that car was coming, so not the easiest."
Speaking before the investigation, Sky F1's pundits suspected Hamilton had a penalty coming his way.
"Well, he was in the way. I just don't think there's any other way you can read that," Sky F1's Damon Hill said.
"If there's a penalty for impeding and they apply it consistently, then I'm afraid he's probably going to be in line for one."
Martin Brundle added: "Did Lewis impede him? Yes, he did. Did he do his best to avoid doing so? Yes.
"I think Lewis will be lucky to get away without a three-place grid drop there."
When's the Austrian GP on Sky F1?
All the key TV times you need - and how and where to watch - for the Austrian GP weekend.
The full stewards' verdict
Reasons: The Stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from the driver of car seven (Kimi Raikkonen) and the driver of car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and the team representatives and determined that car 44 unnecessarily impeded car seven at Turn Three.
Car 44 had just come out of the pits and was informed of the cars approaching, including car seven. Although car 44 tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car seven approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding car seven, which had to then abort the lap."
Decision: A drop of three grid positions in accordance with Article 31.4 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations. (one penalty point awarded, one point in total for the 12 month period).
The whole Austrian GP weekend is live only on Sky Sports F1. Sunday's race begins at 2.10pm with build-up from 12.30pm. Find out more about Formula 1 on Sky Sports