Prior to qualifying in Italy, race management decided to introduce a maximum lap time. During Q1, both Ferrari drivers ‘infringed’ that lap time, but the stewards still ruled that a penalty was not necessary.
The purpose of introducing the maximum lap time was to try to avoid, as we have often seen in the past, the drivers crowding together prior to starting their fast lap and creating very dangerous situations.
However, during Q1 the message followed that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz had gone above that maximum lap time and that the stewards would investigate after the session. Leclerc and Sainz therefore had to fear a penalty, but immediately after qualifying the announcement followed that both drivers would not be penalized.
It was good that there was immediate clarity after qualifying, but at the same time there were a lot of questions about that decision. However, the stewards came up with an explanation for not penalizing Leclerc and Sainz.
“The stewards have studied all data and camera images in detail. Both Ferrari drivers drove most of their laps at the required speed or even faster, especially on the straights,” the stewards said in a statement.
“The stewards also ruled that both drivers took the appropriate actions by slowing down and moving out of the way to avoid getting in the way of other cars. In both cases they let several drivers pass to ensure that those drivers had a clear track.”
“The stewards therefore judge that the Ferrari drivers did not drive ‘unnecessarily slow’ and that the cause of the lap times being too slow was the right decisions they made. Therefore, no further action will be taken.”