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Mercedes' podium chances SOAR as Hamilton receives HUGE Canadian Grand Prix boost

Mercedes' podium chances SOAR as Hamilton receives HUGE Canadian Grand Prix boost

Mercedes' podium chances SOAR as Hamilton receives HUGE Canadian Grand Prix boost

Mercedes' podium chances SOAR as Hamilton receives HUGE Canadian Grand Prix boost

Lewis Hamilton will start the Canadian Grand Prix in third, with team-mate George Russell joining him on the second row, after Nico Hulkenberg was handed a three-place grid penalty for exceeding the speed limit under red-flag conditions.

Moments after Oscar Piastri lost control of his McLaren at turn seven, Hulkenberg went on on to record the second-fastest qualifying time in Q3 to put him second on the grid for Sunday's race.

Moments later, a red flag put a halt to Fernando Alonso's flying lap behind him. With the rain intensifying, the Haas driver appeared to have timed things perfectly to start from the front row.

READ MORE: F1 Qualifying Results: Canadian Grand Prix 2023 times Perez and Leclerc KNOCKED OUT in Q2

Hulkenberg's misery, Hamilton's joy

However, things soon went downhill for Hulkenberg after the stewards gave him a three-place grid penalty for failing to stay within the mandated speed limit after Piastri's crash.

Despite a 10-place grid penalty being the usual punishment, the stewards noted that there were mitigating factors surrounding Hulkenberg's infringement.

Their report read: “The driver had just finished his fastest lap and had started another push lap. He was at T1 when the red flag was displayed, however at that point he was already 1.5 seconds over his delta time.

“He claimed this made it extremely difficult for him to come below the delta in the next sector. He also admitted to confusion about the beep signal in his headset, and therefore at one stage thought he was going too slow.

“Comparison of telemetry with that of Car 31 [Esteban Ocon] showed that in general for the rest of the lap he was approximately the same speed as Car 31 which complied with the delta times in each mini-sector. We regard this as a mitigating circumstance.

Nico Hulkenberg will have to start the Canadian Grand Prix down in fifth

“However, the regulation is very clear and whilst there is no question of the driver acting dangerously or driving unsafely, there was a breach and thus a penalty has to be imposed.

"The normal penalty for failure to slow under red flags is 10 grid positions. However in view of the mitigating circumstance, a lower penalty is appropriate.

“We note the intention of the regulation is to ensure a car is not speeding during a red flag situation and there is no evidence that the speed was excessive in this case.

"We also note that the driver should make himself more familiar with the operational aspects of the delta signals.”

The news therefore means that Hamilton and Russell will now start in third and fourth, behind Alonso in second and Max Verstappen in first.

Hulkenberg meanwhile will begin the race down in fifth, behind the two Mercedes drivers.

READ MORE: F1 Canadian Grand Prix weather forecast

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