until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Las Vegas Grand Prix starting grid after penalties

2 min read

Two penalties affect the grid for Formula 1's first Las Vegas Grand Prix on the Strip circuit, one of them controversially impacting a potential victory contender.

Carlos Sainz falls from second to 12th on the grid due to a 10-place penalty for component changes required when his impact with a dislodged water valve cover in opening practice wrecked his Ferrari's chassis, combustion engine, battery and control electronics unit.

Ferrari applied for an exemption to the mandatory penalty given the way the damage had been caused, and the F1 stewards effectively agreed - but said they were "obliged” to impose the sanction despite the "mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances" because "the regulations do not allow" any leeway.

Sainz's demotion brings Max Verstappen's Red Bull onto the front row alongside the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, and puts George Russell's Mercedes in the top three.

The blow of the penalty has been felt even more keenly given Ferrari's dominant pace so far this weekend.

Lance Stroll is the other penalty recipient, falling from 14th to 19th in his Aston Martin for passing Sainz under yellow flags in final practice.

The stewards said Stroll "stated he had his 'head down' looking at his dash and was concentrating on the Ferrari ahead of him and missed the flags" but "although there were no yellow light panels displayed, the regulations are clear that the flags and light panels have the same meaning".

But he escaped a potential double penalty when called up for allegedly failing to slow for a separate yellow flag scenario in qualifying.

In that case the stewards accepted that Stroll's sector time was misleading and he had reacted to the yellows.

"Examination of the telemetry and comparison with that of his team-mate in car 14 [Fernando Alonso] revealed that the driver of car 18 [Stroll] lifted off the throttle earlier than on his previous fast lap, came back onto the throttle later than on his previous fast lap, and that his speed into the corner was significantly less than on his previous fast lap and that of his team-mate," their judgement read.

"Further his time in the yellow flag sector was greater than that on his fastest previous lap notwithstanding that the lap times were improving as the session progressed due to the evolution of the track."


1 Leclerc (Ferrari)
2 Verstappen (Red Bull)
3 Russell (Mercedes)
4 Gasly (Alpine)
5 Albon (Williams)
6 Sargeant (Williams)
7 Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
8 Magnussen (Haas)
9 Alonso (Aston Martin)
10 Hamilton (Mercedes)
11 Perez (Red Bull)
12 Sainz (Ferrari)*
13 Hulkenberg (Haas)
14 Ricciardo (AlphaTauri)
15 Norris (McLaren)
16 Ocon (Alpine)
17 Zhou (Alfa Romeo)
18 Piastri (McLaren)
19 Stroll (Aston Martin)**
20 Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

* 10-place penalty
** 5-place penalty

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