Russell handed three penalty points and nominal grid drop for Q1 yellow flag incident
Williams’ George Russell was already set to start the Turkish Grand Prix from the back of the grid after taking on new power unit elements this weekend. But the Williams driver was handed a further five-place demotion and – more critically for him – three penalty points on his licence after failing to slow sufficiently under double-waved yellow flags in Q1.
Having finished P18 on the road in Q1 – with the back-of-the-grid penalty already hanging over his head, having used a fourth internal combustion engine, fourth turbocharger and fourth MGU-H this weekend – Russell was summoned to appear before the stewards following the end of qualifying, with the Briton accused of failing to slow sufficiently when double-waved yellow flags were shown at the end of Q1 after Daniil Kvyat had spun his AlphaTauri.
The stewards ultimately ruled that Russell had been in breach of the rules, as they handed him a five-place grid drop and three penalty points on his licence - giving him a total of six in the current 12 month period – the same punishment meted out to McLaren’s Lando Norris for an incident involving Russell’s team mate Nicholas Latifi.
“The stewards heard from the driver of Car 63 (George Russell), the team representative and have reviewed video, telemetry and marshalling system evidence,” read the stewards’ verdict.
“Car 63 approached Turn 2, which was under double yellow flags for Car 26 (Daniel Kvyat) who was spinning off track on the outside of the turn. While Car 63 made an attempt to slow when encountering the double yellow flags, in the opinion of the stewards he slowed insufficiently and did not have his car under full control as he approached and then passed Car 26.
“This lack of full control clearly breaches the regulations. The driver also set a meaningful lap time on this lap which in and of itself breaches the requirements set out by the Race Director’s notes.”
Despite the outcome, Russell will nonetheless start the Turkish Grand Prix in the same P20 as he expected – although with the Istanbul Park track having proved incredibly slippery even in the dry running on Friday, Russell was hopeful of a mixed up Grand Prix as he seeks his first points of 2020, telling the media after qualifying: “Hopefully it will be an interesting race. We know that a lot can be gained on the opening laps so we will be trying to make a good start.”