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EXPLAINED: Why Ricciardo, Stroll, Sargeant and Magnussen were all penalised in China

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01

The stewards handed out three penalties in quick succession in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, with Logan Sargeant, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen all involved. Daniel Ricciardo, who was forced to retire from the race following his collision with Stroll, was also later hit with a three-place grid drop for the Miami weekend. Let us explain why all four were found to have breached the rules.

Why did Logan Sargeant get penalised by the stewards?

During the Safety Car period, Nico Hulkenberg emerged from the pits almost side-by-side with Logan Sargeant – who was on-track on the racing line heading towards Turn 1.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to victory over Norris and Perez in action-packed Chinese GP

Having carried more momentum into Turn 1, Sargeant swept around the outside and took the position. Replays show it was very close as to who crossed the Safety Car line first – but on review by the stewards, they could see Hulkenberg was fractionally ahead of the Williams.

That meant Sargeant had passed his Haas rival under Safety Car conditions – which is a breach of Article 55.8 of the Sporting Regulations. As a result – he was given a 10-second time penalty, plus two points for his Super Licence, taking his tally to eight for the 12-month period.

Sargeant ‘really really struggled’ on the hard tyre in Shanghai

What did Sargeant say?

“The penalty for the Safety Car infringement doesn’t really matter in the end,” he said.

“From my perspective, I thought I crossed the line first. When the cars are going at such different speeds, I don’t know how I could’ve known the true order.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Chinese Grand Prix as Verstappen takes victory while Safety Car sparks dramatic restart

OK, what about the 10-second penalty for Lance Stroll?

Ah, well this was more clear-cut. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso had locked up on the approach to the hairpin as the field prepared for the restart after a Safety Car.

That created a concertina effect, with George Russell braking to avoid Alonso. Oscar Piastri braked to avoid Russell, with Ricciardo braking to avoid Piastri.

Stroll was next up and did not slow sufficiently and thus crashed heavily into the back of Ricciardo, causing enough damage to force the RB’s retirement.

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Drama on the restart as Stroll hits Ricciardo and Magnussen knocks out Tsunoda

Ouch. So, what did the drivers have to say?

Stroll said: “Someone braked at the front of the pack, I don’t know who. And then everyone stops. The car in front of me just stopped from like 60 (kph) to zero – so a really stupid incident.

“I got a penalty because of the end result, that I hit Ricciardo. But it’s not like everyone was normal and I just slammed into the back of him.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the Chinese Grand Prix action as Verstappen takes victory

“And there was a really odd concertina effect that I would have liked to see the stewards take into consideration maybe a little bit more.”

Ricciardo said: “It’s a restart, so we don’t know what the leader is going to do. So you have to be vigilant and prepared for any situation.

“Obviously how hard he’s hit me, and pretty much put half his car under mine, it wasn’t a small lack of judgement – he was miles off. So, for me, that’s (concertina situation) is not an excuse.

“I watched the onboard and he’s not even looking at me. He’s looking at the apex of the corner. I don’t know why he’s not looking at me.”

‘I don’t understand it’ – Stroll unhappy with penalty for Ricciardo collision

What was the reasoning behind the steward’s decision?

The stewards had a look at video, timing and marshalling system data and determined that Stroll was to blame, handing him a 10-second penalty and two penalty points (taking his total to seven for the 12-month period).

The stewards said Stroll “ought to have anticipated the pace of the cars in front, particularly Car 3 (Ricciardo) and should have prepared to brake accordingly.

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“Had (he) done that, (he) would have avoided the collision. Hence (Stroll) was predominantly to blame for the collision that ultimately led to (Ricciardo) having to retire from the race.”

Who else got a penalty during the race?

Kevin Magnussen. The Haas driver was handed a 10-second time penalty for colliding with Yuki Tsunoda, forcing the RB out of the Grand Prix.

As they entered Turn 6, the stewards determined Magnussen “braked late and collided with” Tsunoda at the exit of the corner and was “predominantly to blame for the collision”.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01

Ricciardo will serve a three-place grid drop penalty at the next race he participates in

So, why was Ricciardo slapped with a penalty after the race?

While he was deemed not to be at fault in the Stroll incident, Ricciardo was given a three-place grid drop for the upcoming Miami weekend – along with two penalty points on his licence – for overtaking Hulkenberg under Safety Car conditions.

In a hearing with the stewards, Ricciardo had argued that he believed he could make the move on Hulkenberg as the Haas driver had overtaken him before under the Safety Car on Lap 28, but the stewards stated that this had been permitted because of Article 55.8 and added that there was "no justifiable basis" for Ricciardo to overtake Hulkenberg.

READ MORE: Ricciardo hit with three-place grid penalty for Miami weekend after Chinese GP rule breach

The Australian was handed a 10-second time penalty for the offence but, having retired from the running in Shanghai, the grid penalty was imposed instead, which Ricciardo will serve in the next race he participates in – the Grand Prix in Miami.

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