Mazepin penalised by stewards for blocking Norris in qualifying
Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has been handed a three-place grid drop and one penalty point on his licence for impeding McLaren’s Lando Norris during the opening segment of qualifying in Spain.
Mazepin qualified 20th, so the decision doesn’t change his or anyone else’s starting position, but it does take his penalty point tally to two in four races. A tally of 12 within a 12-month period results in an automatic one-race ban.
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The incident occurred in Q1, when Norris was about to complete his first flying effort and encountered Mazepin at Turn 15, as the Russian was preparing to start a run.
The Stewards heard from Mazepin, Norris and team representatives, and also reviewed multiple angles of video evidence, telemetry and team radio before coming to their decision.
“During the Qualifying 1 session, Mazepin was setting up for a fast lap,” read a statement from the stewards. “As he approached turns 10 and 11 Mazepin was informed that Norris was closing on a fast lap behind him and was informed of the closing gap all the way through to the incident.
“Mazepin then slowed to maintain the gap to Schumacher ahead of him with both setting up for their fast laps. Between turn 13 and 14, Raikkonen and Tsunoda, who were coming into the pits, jumped ahead of Mazepin. Both cars had also been informed of the fast closing Norris, and it is clear that they did this to get out of Norris’ way. However, this created a difficult situation for Mazepin.
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“The Stewards determined that having been clearly informed of Norris’ whereabouts, Mazepin’s decision to pull out and re-pass Raikkonen and Tsunoda clearly impeded Norris, who lost significant time.
“The Stewards recognize that this sequence of corners creates a special challenge to the drivers in qualifying and that Mazepin was faced with a difficult situation. This was also pointed out by Norris in the hearing. However, had Mazepin waited for Norris to pass, he could have pulled out and followed Norris and the Stewards determined this opportunity was available to him without significantly compromising his next lap.”