Nico Hülkenberg will start tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix in second position after the FIA Stewards investigated an alleged yellow flag breach committed by the German en route to qualifying third-fastest.
The Force India driver was placed under investigation for not slowing sufficiently under yellow flag conditions when Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz pulled off the track with an engine failure in the final stages of Q2.
“Although the driver went ‘green’ [setting a personal best time] in the sector where the double yellow flags were displayed, the telemetry clearly demonstrated he had decelerated approaching the flag point and that his speed reduced in the yellow flag sector,” a statement from the FIA reads.
Kevin Magnussen was also cleared by the Stewards for the same investigation, although his Renault teammate Jolyon Palmer, Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr have all been handed three-place grid penalties for yellow flag infringements.
Nasr qualified last, so he will remain in his position, while Palmer will drop from 18th to 20th and Haryanto drops to 21st from 19th.
“The telemetry clearly showed the driver made no reduction in speed and was at full acceleration through the yellow flag area. Notwithstanding the fact the driver could see the disabled car 55 (Sainz) on the side of the track, the regulations are clear that on display of double-yellow flags a significant reduction in speed must be made,” a Steward’s statement for all three drivers said.
“This did not happen in this case. It is noted by the Stewards that there appears to be a lack of understanding of the requirement for a significant reduction in speed where double-yellow flags are displayed.
“Drivers should not assume that what is in their field of vision is the only hazard to which the flags reflect.”
The Stewards also noted in Haryanto’s and Nasr’s statement that “The driver was open and honest in his acknowledgement of his breach”.
Image via Sahara Force India