Baku [Azerbaijan], June 5 (ANI): McLaren's Lando Norris on Saturday was handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the stewards in Baku concluded that he had continued on track under red flag conditions, rather than returning to the pits.
As a result, Norris has dropped from P6 to P9 on the grid. Norris was on Baku's long pit straight in Q1 when red flags were deployed after Antonio Giovinazzi crashed at Turn 15.
"During the hearing, the driver admitted that he lifted the throttle, braked and was committed to and able to enter the pitlane," according to a statement.
"At that moment he was not sure what to do and asked his team over the radio. Although the team ordered him immediately to enter the pits, it was too late and Norris crossed the finish line one more time," it added.
"Given his position on track, approaching the tight pit entry at speed, he asked his team whether to come in or stay out. He was told to come in, but by that stage, it was too late and he continued for another lap before returning."
An investigation was immediately announced, and after hearing from Norris and his team and reviewing video evidence, the stewards made their decision, dropping the Briton two fewer places than usual for such an offence given the limited time he had to make a decision.
Norris was also handed three penalty points on his licence, bringing his tally to eight in the last 12 months. Four more points in the same period would trigger an automatic one-race ban.
As a result of Norris' penalty, Sergio Perez, Yuki Tsunoda, and Fernando Alonso all move up one place respectively on the grid. It capped a difficult day for McLaren, who saw Daniel Ricciardo exit qualifying in Q2 after a crash.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc delivered impressive pace and benefitted from a tow from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to take a sensational pole position for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
It comes just a couple of weeks after he took pole in his home race in Monaco, only to be forced to retire before the race had even started with a mechanical issue caused by his crash in qualifying - with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton bouncing back from a poor Friday to join the Ferrari on the front row in Baku. (ANI)