It was a moment that no-doubt left Lando Norris with his heart in his mouth: The British racer having an extremely close call with Romain Grosjean after encountering the slow moving Haas while flat out on a flying lap.
The incident occurred at Turn 14 during Q1, and has result in Grosjean being handed a three-place grid drop by the stewards in Bahrain, who determined the Frenchman – who was about to start a ‘push’ lap - had been driving unnecessarily slowly and impeded the McLaren driver.
“The speed differential was 136 km/h at the point where car 4 [Norris] had to take avoiding action,” read the stewards’ report.
“The Stewards accept that the driver of car 8 [Grosjean] did not intentionally intend to impede, however it is the driver’s responsibility to be aware, when travelling abnormally slowly, that faster cars may be approaching.”
As a result of his penalty, Grosjean will now start P11, having qualified eighth. Kimi Raikkonen jumps to P8, ahead of Norris in ninth and Daniel Ricciardo in P10.
Grosjean was also handed one penalty point on his Super Licence for the incident, taking his tally to eight in the last 12 months. Any driver accumulating 12 points over the same period will receive an automatic one-race ban.
Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner was not impressed the stewards opted to add a penalty point in addition to the grid penalty.
"He didn’t do anything wrong, there was no radio call," said Steiner. "Why should he get a point? It’s completely inappropriate. The grid penalty, we can discuss, but to give him a point. Guys? Where are we living?
"It’s very difficult if you have one car in the middle which is on a fast lap. I don’t want to discuss the penalty of the grid position, that’s a different story. But a point to the driver? What can he do? He should look in the mirror, yes, but then he doesn’t look forward. I don’t know where the stewards are going with it."