Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson has been handed a five place grid penalty by Chinese Grand Prix race stewards following Saturday’s qualifying session.
However, Ericsson was already due to start in 20th place in tomorrow’s race. That means the penalty leaves him exactly where he was.
The Swede earned the nominal reprimand after it was deemed that he hadn’t reduced his speed under yellow flags during Q1.
The stewards reviewed video evidence and spoke with both Ericsson and a team representative after the race. They concluded that he made no attempt to ease off for the double waved yellows in the final corner.
Furthermore, he had then additionally contravened the rules by immediately attempting to set a meaningful lap time.
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As well as the five place grid penalty, Ericsson has also been given two penalty points on his superlicence. That brings him to a total of five points for the last 12 month period.
If a driver receives more than 12 points in a year, he gets an automatic one race ban.
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“It was not the best qualifying session for me,” Ericsson admitted. “My last lap was looking quite good until I locked up towards the end and had to lift off.”
“We have been struggling quite a bit on the ultrasoft tyres this weekend,” he added. “But we had a good race pace during the two practice sessions yesterday, which is encouraging for tomorrow’s race.”
Ironically, the yellow flags that Ericsson fell foul of were out because of an incident for his team mate, Charles Leclerc.
The rookie racer strayed onto the wet astroturf coming out of the final corner and was snapped into a scary spin on the front straight. He managed to control the car and kept it away from the barriers.
“Overall I am quite happy with my day, even though a small error on my fast lap cost me some time,” he said.
“It was the first qualifying this year in which I am satisfied with my own performance.
“So far our race pace has been better than our qualifying pace this weekend,” he pointed out. “It will be interesting to see what is possible during tomorrow’s race.”
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