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Leclerc avoids Australian GP pole sanction

Leclerc avoids Australian GP pole sanction

Leclerc avoids Australian GP pole sanction

Leclerc avoids Australian GP pole sanction

Charles Leclerc will start on pole for the Australian Grand Prix after being cleared of driving unnecessarily slowly on an in-lap during qualifying.

The FIA race stewards summoned the Ferrari driver some four hours after the conclusion of Q3 in Melbourne.

The championship leader had posted a lap time almost three-tenths faster than early title rival Max Verstappen around the revamped Albert Park circuit to take his second pole position of the season.

But upon throwing out the investigation, the stewards' report read: "LEC started a lap that was intended to be a cool-down lap, not an in lap, which would not be subject to the minimum time restriction of the regulation.

"Part-way through the lap, the decision was made to come in. During the lap there was heavy traffic and LEC took effort to ensure that he did not impede other drivers on push laps.

"These efforts significantly slowed his lap time. As a result, the minimum time was breached.

"The Stewards accept the driver’s rationale for his actions; find that he acted reasonably under the circumstances; and, therefore, take no further action."

Zhou cleared, Tsunoda reprimanded

Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou was investigated for the same offence but was cleared, whilst AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda was reprimanded.

The Japanese received his third of the season and whilst in previous years this would have resulted in a grid drop, the threshold for a penalty this year has been increased to five.

The report from the stewards read: "TSU drove a slow in lap at the end of the session without other traffic that impacted his driving.

"The required minimum lap time was breached without good or apparent reason.

"The Stewards, therefore, reprimand him for breaching the regulation."

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