Daniel Ricciardo’s continued poor luck at his home Grand Prix continues after the Australian was handed a three-place grid penalty by the FIA Stewards.
The Red Bull Racing driver, who was a rapid flying lap in Friday’s second free practice session and on course to move into the top-four on the timesheets, had to abandon his effort when the session was red-flagged after a timing loop wire was pulled from the tarmac on the start/finish straight.
Under the FIA’s Formula One Sporting Regulations (Article 31.6), the drivers are required to stay above the minimum sector times on their in-lap to the pits in recognition of the potential danger that a red flag represents.
Ricciardo responded to the red flag at Turn 12 and was “consistently and significantly slower” than the required guidelines over the remainder of his run to the pits, however “he admitted [to] an error in reading his dash and was slightly below the minimum time”, the FIA’s statement said.
While Ricciardo could not have driven through the danger zone on the start/finish straight as he entered the pits beforehand and “no danger was created” as he “proceeded with due care” back to the pits, the FIA Stewards had to apply guiding principles to this rule rather than set an immediate precedent which would be the grounds for future challenges by other teams should such violations of it occur.
The standard penalty for this breach is a five-place grid penalty, however in factoring Ricciardo’s actions they have reduced the punishment to three grid places and two penalty points to his FIA Superlicense – the latter being the first such points penalty for him in the last 12 months.
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