McLaren drivers docked five places

22 03 2008

By Jonathan Noble

Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen have each been moved five places down the grid for blocking rival drivers in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.The McLaren pair were investigated by the stewards after qualifying following claims that they had impeded Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of the session.

The two drivers were driving slowly back to the pits, having completed their final qualifying efforts, while other drivers were still on their fast laps.

Following several hours of deliberation by the stewards about whether or not the McLaren pair had done anything wrong, it was eventually decided that the duo should be punished.

A McLaren spokesman confirmed that the two drivers had been moved back five places each. He also said the team would not appeal the decision.

Hamilton was penalised for blocking Heidfeld, while Kovalainen got his penalty for blocking both the German and Alonso.

It means Kovalainen will now start from eighth place on the grid, with Hamilton one place behind him.

BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica, who was lapping on the track close to the McLarens, said he felt Alonso was hurt more than Heidfeld by the blocking.

“I saw clearly that Alonso’s lap was screwed because of, I think, Kovalainen staying on the racing line,” he said. “Nick was a bit more lucky because his incident was before braking, so he could rejoin the good line.

“But Alonso, he had to brake inside and he lost for sure there a lot of time. It was quite dangerous.”

Revised grid:

 1.  Massa         Ferrari
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari
 3.  Trulli        Toyota
 4.  Kubica        BMW Sauber
 5.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber
 6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault
 7.  Alonso        Renault
 8.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes   *
 9.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   *
10.  Glock         Toyota
11.  Button        Honda
12.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault
13.  Piquet        Renault
14.  Barrichello   Honda
15.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari
16.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota
17.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari
18.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari
19.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda
20.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari
21.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda
22.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota    **

*  Penalised for blocking
** Penalised for his crash his Australia Fonte: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/66021 

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