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F1 | São Paulo GP | Pierre Gasly penalised for speeding in the pit lane, but avoids looming race ban

Pierre Gasly received a 5-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane during the São Paulo GP, but didn’t earn any penalty points in his license, meaning he is still avoiding a looming race ban. Daniel Ricciardo was handed a three-place grid drop for his final McLaren race in Abu Dhabi, following his collision with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap.

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F1 | São Paulo GP | Pierre Gasly penalised for speeding in the pit lane, but avoids looming race ban
Fuente imagen: Scuderia AlphaTauri

The stewards of the São Paulo Grand Prix were quite busy on race day, as several incidents caught their attention and needed action to be taken – more notably a clash between former title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the first Safety Car restart, in which the pair came together at the apex of turn two, with the Red Bull driver coming off worse with damage and a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision.

But Verstappen wasn’t the only driver to be penalised on Sunday, as his former Red Bull team-mate Pierre Gasly received yet another penalty for his actions during a grand prix. The Frenchman started the weekend in Brazil knowing that with 10 points on his license, any self-inflicted incidents at Interlagos could potentially cost him from participating at the Abu Dhabi GP or get him closer to the 12-point threshold for a 12-month period.

The Frenchman was penalised after the race in São Paulo, for exceeding the pit lane speed limit of 80 km/h by 1.8 km/h. Luckily for him, the stewards didn’t award any penalty points for this infringement of the pit lane rules, but he still needs to be cautious over the next race and the start of the 2023 season, as his first points will only expire by late May.

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to replicate his great run of form shown at the Mexico City GP, as he clashed with star pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen on the first lap at Interlagos. Ricciardo tagged the back of the Haas, which sent the Dane into a spin, and his trajectory meant he eventually collided with Ricciardo himself again, putting both cars out of the running.

The stewards acknowledged that Ricciardo’s move on the Haas was “not reckless”, but couldn’t be classified as a first lap incident due to not involving multiple cars. The ruling also stated that Magnussen was driving in a “normal” and not “erratic” manner, meaning Ricciardo was “wholly to blame” for the incident which took both cars out.

The Australian thus received a three-place grid drop to be served at this week’s Abu Dhabi GP, in what is his final race for McLaren and could be his final Formula 1 race if he fails to find a seat for the 2024 season.

Speaking after the race in Interlagos, Ricciardo said he “didn’t expect” to make contact with the Haas, and lamented a “painful” ending to the weekend in Brazil:

“It certainly bottled up,” he said.

“I remember getting into [Turn] 8, I had a look on the inside. Kevin closed, so I protected the line, tried to pull back behind, but I didn’t honestly expect to make contact.

“I don’t know if I could have done more or if it was the angle he came back on, but it doesn’t change both of us ending our race.

“Not blaming anyone but more sad we’re both out. That’s a painful way to end the weekend.”

Ricciardo said he was surprised that a small and light touch had such bug consequences for both cars, but admitted that he will put his “hand up” for the incident.

“I’ll be honest, I was very surprised to see him spin. I remember I could feel the touch, it literally felt like a touch but it was just the angle.

“Maybe he was trying to prepare the exit a bit too much and cut back, but that angle tipped the rear over.

“As soon as I saw him spinning I was already, let’s say, disappointed. I was probably looking at a penalty, whoever’s fault it was, and thereafter I tried to avoid it [the secondary crash].

“It was a very small incident with massive consequences. At the end of the day, if it’s my fault, I’ll put my hand up. It felt too small to have both of us with the damage we had.”

Now facing a penalty for his last McLaren (and possibly F1) race, Ricciardo says he was most disappointed by his Interlagos race ending so early, given how much work and preparation goes into it beforehand:

“It’s the worst because you prepare so much for a race, and when it’s over like that, it’s the most frustrating feeling. You wish these things don’t happen but it’s part of racing.

“I’m, for sure, disappointed,” Ricciardo concluded.

Another incident that was looked at by the stewards was an unusual one. Alfa Romeo had one of its team members, who isn’t a part of the pit crew, enter the pit lane working area “unreasonably close” to a fast-approaching Haas car, determining it was an “unsafe situation” and handing the team a fine of €1000.

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