Maldonado drops to sixth as Raikkonen avoids penalty

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 2012Pastor Maldonado has been docked three places on the grid for impeding Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying.

“The driver of car 18 was warned by his team not to “hold up” car 12 which was behind him, yet he clearly did impede car 12,” the stewards acknowledged.

“However as car 12 continued into Q2 a more severe penalty was not considered appropriate.”

The penalty relegates the Williams driver to sixth on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen moves up to third with Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso also gaining places.

The stewards decided against handing Raikkonen a penalty for cutting the track during the qualifying session: “Although car nine left the track at turns three and four (not only on this lap but also on another lap in Q3) a detailed examination of telemetry and sector times clearly indicate there was no advantage gained because the exit speed was shown to be slower than on other laps where the car did not leave the track.”

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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73 comments on Maldonado drops to sixth as Raikkonen avoids penalty

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 1st September 2012, 16:38

    I’m so sorry about this guy. This probably wasn’t on purpose, as blocking tends to happen to anyone, but it’s amaizing how many times he’s been “there”, and then something happens and he’s at the back.

    He still has chances to do a great race tomorrow, but from 3rd it’s always easier.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st September 2012, 16:49

      I must say that all too often these kind of penalties have ended up ruining some great qualifying efforts. And sadly far too often for impeding where it did not even matter to the impeded driver.

      • Lord Stig (@lord-stig) said on 1st September 2012, 17:55

        I think in this case they gave the penalty because the team specifically told him car 12 was behind him.

        • Alexander (@alexanderfin) said on 1st September 2012, 21:48

          Exactly, the team ordered him not to, but still in Maldonado fashion he did what would be best for him regardless of any other diver… I think he has shown completely no respect for any driver at the moments he has been in these situations, (Eg. Hamilton was so slow he should have waited for a better position to overtake.)

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st September 2012, 16:40

    Making it Maldonado starting between Alonso and Hamilton and right in front of Grosjean. They will be looking forward to that then.

  3. Eggry (@eggry) said on 1st September 2012, 16:40

    It took so long to make decision. I think this one is not sort of typical Maldonado accident but the rule is the rule. Anyway, now even Alonso and Kimi should fear his charge(I’m joking :D)

    Now it’s Kimi’s turn? We will see…

  4. Tom (@newdecade) said on 1st September 2012, 16:45

    Kimi is inching towards the top of the podium and it isn’t even sunday yet…

  5. OMG! A desperate Maldonado between Alonso and Ham? ….. As a McLaren fan I fear for the worse as Maldonado would make sure LH did not pass him. I bet the McLaren team will get together and tell LH not to fight him at the beginning of the race but to use DRS to pass him….

  6. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 1st September 2012, 16:51

    I have a good feeling about this. Can’t wait for tomorrow… :)

  7. I think it is Hamilton who needs to be nervous. In order to challenge for the win he will have to pass him on the race track. It is quite possible that Alonso will only have to defend his position while Hamilton will have to pass him . And you know what has happened when these two have found each other on the racetrack! Fireworks. Anyway , Maldonado always is involved in all kind of investigations , he is the new Hamilton or at least is getting to that level.

  8. Ninad (@nin13) said on 1st September 2012, 16:55

    I don’t know how stewards give 3 place penalty when clearly rules state its should be 5 or 10 place penalty.

    • Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 1st September 2012, 16:58

      to put him between Alonso and Hamilton Of course.

    • Nickpkr said on 1st September 2012, 17:02

      He is a good customer so he gets nice breaks and membership card too !

    • 3 place penalties have been handed out before. Heidfeld got one in Singapore a few years ago.

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 1st September 2012, 17:03

      The rules don’t say any number of places for blocking, they can give a car any penalty they feel is justifiable..

      However, I feel that this is a bit unfair, at the time when Hulkenberg made the complaint in Q1 he was higher up than Maldonado, with a time that still got through.. Haven’t the stewards made ecisions not to penalise drivers under the same circumstances??? I just feel this isn’t giving Maldonado any chance to change considering he put in a great qualifying performance…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st September 2012, 17:06

      As @keeleyobsessed writes, its not a case of him being handed any grid spots down, but his bet timed lap being taken away in most cases.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st September 2012, 17:21


      clearly rules state its should be 5 or 10 place penalty.

      No they don’t. The only specific grid drop penalties are ten places for an engine change and five for a gearbox change. For incidents stewards can impose what they like. Three-place penalties for impeding have been used before:

      2008 Chinese Grand Prix grid
      2008 Singapore Grand Prix grid

    • sorin (@) said on 1st September 2012, 20:46

      I think, they put Maldonado behind Alonso, to crash into him, and to blame Hamilton for that. Is the perfect crime!

      • Alec Glen (@alec-glen) said on 2nd September 2012, 1:07

        I think the right punishment would have been a warning as it didnt knock Nico out of the session although I seem to think people have had 5 place drops for less recently. My guess is they didnt give him the warning as that would have been a 10 place drop I think for 3 warnings in a season? Which would have at least looked harsh.

  9. sorin (@) said on 1st September 2012, 17:09

    Heeew.. I had some emotions with this guy near to Raikkonen at the start. Now they dissapered.

  10. explosiveface (@explosiveface) said on 1st September 2012, 17:09

    Blocking, numerous prior penalties = 3 places
    Someone changed your gearbox, no prior penalties = 5 places

    The system needs a serious fix.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd September 2012, 0:35


      The system needs a serious fix.

      No, it doesn’t. Previous penalties are only taken into consideration when it is for the same offence. Pastor Maldonado has been in and out of the stewards’ office several times this year, but he’s never been cited for blocking.

      For the stewards to hold unrelated penalties against a driver would be the same as a judge giving someone the maximum penalty for drink-driving because they have been charged with shoplifting in the past. The two offences are unrelated, so how can this be justified?

      Now, if Maldonado had been called to the stewards several times for blocking, then I could understand a harsher penalty. But he hasn’t, so it’s not justified. As the stewards said, even though Nico Hulkenberg was blocked in Q1, he made it to Q2. He did not really suffer as a result of being blocked, so a lighter penalty was called for.

  11. matt90 (@matt90) said on 1st September 2012, 17:43

    I really don’t like Maldonado. But I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for him now. Almost.

  12. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 1st September 2012, 18:05

    Love this! I was a bit scared for Kobayashi and Button with Maldonado right behind, but now they have a bit of breathing space (in terms of dangerous manoeuvres), and it helps Raikkonen out too :D

  13. Adam Blocker (@blockwall2) said on 1st September 2012, 18:27

    so now maldonado has 5 pins to aim at instead of 2….interesting.

  14. Alfie (@alfie) said on 1st September 2012, 18:28

    Really don’t think a penalty is warranted here if this happened in Q1.

  15. As long as Alonso can avoid trouble at the start this is only going to help his championship. I wonder if Vettel will start on the hards to attempt to gain some positions by jumping people in the pits?

    • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 1st September 2012, 20:00

      @vettel1 Of course, if Maldonado crashes into Alonso and takes him out then the championship may very well be blown wide open again.

      • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 1st September 2012, 21:16

        I don’t want it to be a massive shunt with people getting injured etc; I just want maldonado to take Alonso out of the race (after Seb has passed him, of course. Should tighten up the championship a fair bit).

    • I agree with what you’ve said; a Crashtor special on Alonso (and a top 5 at least for Vettel) would spice up the championship a lot. He needs to outscore Alonso on average by 5 points a race!

  16. Michael Brown (@) said on 1st September 2012, 19:15

    I think Maldonado has equaled Hamilton’s record of most penalties in a season

  17. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 1st September 2012, 19:32

    Another good result ruined because of this man’s inability to respect the cars around him. Williams would be having a magnificent season if it wasn’t for this meathead.

  18. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend) said on 1st September 2012, 20:04

    Yet another excellent qualifiying performance by Maldonado. Had it been Perez or di Resta people here would be falling over themselves in praise. Because its Maldonado hardly anyone acknowledges what a great job he’s done today. I didn’t see him impeding Rosberg but I guess the stewards have all the data to back up their decision, so I can’t really argue against it. But third on the grid on merit was a fantastic effort Maldonado and brilliant job by kobayashi too, putting the Sauber on the front row.

  19. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 1st September 2012, 20:43

    Maldonado now has a choice: either wait for Hamilton to jump him at the start or go bowling & attempt to take out the Saubers.

  20. hopefully maldanado will crash into webber, alonso and hamilton and get the guy a suitable punishement so he stops breaking the rules, plus its good for the championship :)

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