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Ocon given a reprimand

NEWS STORY
11/12/2021

Esteban Ocon has been handed a reprimand for impeding a rival in Q2, while no further action taken over Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.

All three were hauled before the stewards at the end of qualifying following the incidents in the final moments of Q2 when such were the traffic jams at one stage Vettel ground to a halt unable to advance.

The German was summoned by the stewards for impeding Pierre Gasly at Turn 1, however, having spoken to both drivers and viewed the relevant video, team radio and telemetry evidence deemed that "almost certainly there was 'dirty air' created by Vettel which did have an 'impact' on the AlphaTauri", though this did not amount to "unnecessarily impeding".

Consequently no further action was taken.

Ricciardo was alleged to have impeded Fernando Alonso in Turn 16, the incident sharing many common elements with the other incidents of alleged impeding from the session.

Most cars did very slow warm up laps resulting in significantly large differences in speed to cars on fast laps. This combined with the desire of all drivers to establish a gap to the car in front when starting a fast lap, resulted in situations where a car may have an "impact" on another car doing a fast lap. However, the stewards considered this different to "impeding" and in particular, "unnecessarily impeding".

This latter point was emphasised by the team representative from McLaren.

The Stewards noted that Alonso was 41 seconds behind Ricciardo at the exit of Turn 14, however the Australian was part of a "chain" of backed-up cars (as a result of double yellow flags at Turn 14) and as a result the Spaniard quickly closed the gap and caught the McLaren at Turn 16.

It was the stewards' determination that Ricciardo could have done little, if anything, to avoid impacting Alonso's lap, therefore no further action was taken.

In Ocon's case, the Frenchman stated that he was given a warning that Vettel was 2.5 seconds behind between Turns 15 and 16. However, due to the track layout he had no visibility of the Aston Martin until Turn 16 and hence had no time to react.

Like the incident involving Vettel and Gasly, the stewards felt the incident shared many common elements with the other incidents of alleged impeding during the session.

The stewards' determined that Ocon could have done little if anything to avoid impacting Vettel's lap, but noted that his team could have done more to have given him earlier warning of the German's approach.

Although normally the lack of radio communication does not absolve a driver from the responsibility to avoid unnecessarily impeding, in this case they considered this a justification for mitigation. Therefore, no grid penalty was imposed.

However, the Frenchman was given a reprimand - his second of the season, but first driving reprimand - while a fine of €10,000 was imposed on Alpine.

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