The incident in question occurred on Lap 51 of the race as Vergne banged into the side of Grosjean’s Renault-powered machine as he forcefully made his way past at Turn 1. The Lotus driver ended up running off the road and losing further positions.
“The driver of car 25 (Vergne) is considered to be predominantly at fault for the contact with car 8 (Grosjean) in turn 1 and the consequent forcing of car 8 off the track,” read a statement issued by the stewards in Austin.
As a result of Vergne’s penalty, Lotus's Pastor Maldonado - who himself had five seconds added to his race time for speeding in the pits - reclaims the ninth position he held at the chequered flag. The Venezuelan had passed the Frenchman on the final lap.
Vergne was also issued with one penalty point for the incident with Grosjean, taking his tally for the 12 month period to three.