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Vettel, Ricciardo and Ocon avoid grid sanctions after traffic jam chaos

Vettel, Ricciardo and Ocon avoid grid sanctions after traffic jam chaos

F1 News

Vettel, Ricciardo and Ocon avoid grid sanctions after traffic jam chaos

Vettel, Ricciardo and Ocon avoid grid sanctions after traffic jam chaos

Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon have all avoided a grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as 'traffic jam' chaos unfolded during qualifying.

The FIA stewards were forced to look into three incidences of impeding during the second session as drivers backed up into one another in order to create a gap to start a hot lap.

Fernando Alonso was left particularly incensed with the FIA post-qualifying, insisting he had been clearly impeded by McLaren driver Ricciardo.

Via their report, the stewards felt the incident "shared many common elements with the other incidents of alleged impeding from qualification".

It added: "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, results in situations where a car may have an 'impact' on another car doing a fast lap.

"However, the stewards consider this is different to 'impeding' and, in particular, 'unnecessarily impeding'.

"The stewards note that car 14 [Alonso] was 41 seconds behind car 3 [Ricciardo] at the exit of turn 14, however, car 3 was part of a 'chain' of backed-up cars [as a result of double-yellow flags at turn 14] and as a result car 14 quickly closed the gap on car 3 and caught car 3 at turn 16.

"It is the stewards’ determination that the driver of car 3 could have done little, if anything, to avoid impacting car 14’s lap."

The stewards cited the same remarks for Ocon who appeared to impede Vettel, although the Alpine driver has been reprimanded and the team fined €10,000.

In their summation, the stewards concluded "the team could have done more to have given him earlier warning of car 5’s approach".

They added: "Although normally the lack of radio communication does not absolve a driver from the responsibility to avoid unnecessarily impeding, in this case, we consider this a justification for mitigation. Therefore, no grid penalty is imposed."

With regard to Vettel impeding AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, the stewards wrote that "almost certainly there was 'dirty air' created by car 5 [Vettel ]which did have an 'impact' on car 10, however, the stewards determine that this does not amount to 'unnecessarily impeding'."

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