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Ocon gets grid penalty for practice red flag infringement

Written by  Oct 06, 2018

Esteban Ocon has been handed a three-place grid penalty for driving too fast under the red flag following Nico Hulkenberg's crash in final practice.

The Renault driver had gone off midway through the Esses with just two minutes left in the session and though Ocon had slowed approaching the sector a moment of confusion in the cockpit led to his mistake.

"After Turn 4, he heard some beeps on his radio that suggested that he was too slow and sped up briefly to regularise his speed," the stewards report read

"In doing so, he briefly exceeded the delta by a maximum of -1.68secs over three mini sectors. As a result, he had failed to maintain the speed delta required under the regulations resulting in an infringement.

"He acknowledged the infringement and attributed it to the confusion caused by the beeps and the system currently being used by the team in such situations."

Given the sensitivity of those kinds of situations in the sport today, particularly at Suzuka where a failure to slow sufficiently through a yellow flag zone was considered part of Jules Bianchi's ultimately fatal incident four years ago, the FIA wasn't going to show any leniency.

"In the end, given the importance of the observance of the speed restrictions while red flags are being shown, and recognising the limited extent of the breach, we decided to impose the above penalty [of three grid places]," it concluded.

As a result, Ocon will drop from eighth to 11th in what is a disappointing setback after he had sat as 'best of the rest' in seventh throughout practice in Japan.

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