Nico Rosberg has been summoned to the Stewards office after there has been doubt cast over how much the German slowed during the yellow flag period in qualifying.
The yellow flags were brought out after Fernando Alonso spun at Turn 9 and hampered Lewis Hamilton’s final qualifying lap which he was set to improve on his time.
By the time Rosberg arrived to the section where Alonso had spun, the McLaren driver had rejoined the track and the flags were taken away. There was a small section, however, where Rosberg travelled through a yellow flag period and still managed to put his Mercedes on pole, even after lifting off under the cautioned area.
The rules state under double-waved yellows a driver must “reduce speed significantly, not overtake, and be prepared to change direction or stop”.
Rosberg was called to the Stewards office three hours after the conclusion of qualifying in relation for “an alleged breach of Appendix H, Article 18.104.22.168 b) if the FIA International Sporting Code, failure to slow for yellow flags at 15:54.”
Although he’s now under investigation after initially being cleared by the Stewards during qualifying, Rosberg is confident he lifted off the throttle enough during that sector.
“It’s very clear. I knew what I had to do, I did what I had to do. You have to significantly lift, and as result, slow down,” said Rosberg.
“I’m driving safely out there when there are double yellows as I’m expecting an issue in front.
“All I can say is I lost a fair amount of time. It’s not really possible to measure it because it’s a sequence of corners.”
However, his teammate Hamilton questioned how much a driver had to lift off in order for it to be considered a significant reduction in speed.
“It needs to be clarified, for us drivers to understand the yellow flag situation because the way it is written is not potentially how it is interpreted, so more clarification would be good,” Hamilton said after qualifying.
“For me, no question I had to lift because Fernando was on the track, while for Nico, Fernando had cleared, but there were still flags, so it was just a different scenario.
“When it’s a double yellow, there could be a car on track, a marshal on the track, you don’t know what’s around the corner, and you have to be prepared to stop.
“Nico only lost a tenth through the corner, so if that’s what we’re allowed to do in the future, even though you lift and approach the corner with due care, then we can approach it differently.
“It needs to be really clear for us because it’s not about our safety, it’s about whether there is a car or a marshal on track.”
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas