Russell hit with 5-place grid penalty for failing to respect yellow flags in qualifying

George Russell
George Russell

British GP Race stewards handed George Russell a five-place grid penalty for failing to respect double waved yellow flags following a spin (another one) from teammate Nicholas Latifi, relegating him to the back of the grid.

In a statement explaining their decision, they said: “The driver, Russell, explained to the Stewards that he only saw the double yellow flag signal at Turn 7 in his peripheral vision and believed it was just a single yellow. He lifted slightly earlier than he had on his previous lap.

“But his speed was not “significantly" slower than previous laps, although he explained that he was in full control of the car and felt that he would have been able to take avoiding action if needed; and further that he was at a similar speed because he was on a faster lap overall.

“The Stewards reviewed the team radio and noted that the team warned him that a yellow was ahead. They did not specify that it was a double yellow flag. Further, they did not advise him that he needed to abort the lap, following the Race Director’s notes in this regard that he should not be able to set a meaningful lap time. This was, in fact, his fastest lap of Q1.

“The purpose of the Race Director’s note is to emphasize the extreme importance of the necessity to follow the flag signals for safety reasons. While the Stewards explored all possible mitigating factors, they ultimately determined that it was the responsibility of the driver to see and follow the double yellow flag signal correctly in a potentially very dangerous situation.

“The team could certainly have helped more in this regard. But ultimately, he could not set a meaningful lap time in this circumstance."

In addition Russell was handed three penalty points, the first he has on his license. He’s now set to start his home race from 20th on the grid.

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