Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Sainz and Bottas under investigation for driving too slowly in Q2

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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The Austrian Grand Prix stewards are investigating two further drivers over the Q2 incident which led to Fernando Alonso being impended by Sebastian Vettel.

While Vettel was already under investigation, the driving of Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jnr is now also being looked at. Both were summed to the stewards for “driving unnecessarily slowly in the entry of turn nine and turn ten” prior to the incident as drivers began their final runs in Q2.

Drivers were warned on Saturday morning the stewards would pay especially close attention to drivers who slowed around the final two corners at the Red Bull Ring.

Alonso was unable to complete his lap and qualified 14th. Vettel failed to start his final run before the chequered flag fell, but still reached Q3 and took eighth on the grid. Sainz also dropped out in Q2 and qualified 11th, while Bottas claimed fifth on the grid.

Bottas and Sainz may have have contributed indirectly to the incident. Alonso caught Vettel at the end of his flying lap in the session and was held up. Vettel had been overtaken by Bottas, who then slowed as he caught a queue of other drivers. Bottas had Perez and Vettel between himself and Alonso when he began his final run in Q2.

Sainz was running further ahead of the trio at the time. He caught up to the rear of Max Verstappen approaching turn nine and backed off, while others including Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo waited behind him.

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Sainz and Bottas under investigation for driving too slowly in Q2”

  1. RandomMallard (@)
    3rd July 2021, 16:05

    Talk about rubbing salt into the wounds…

    If they are investigating this, then I think it’s likely that he’ll be penalised. And Merc can have no complaints if he is, seen as Ron Meadows was broadcast saying to Masi:

    “The main thing is, Turns Nine and 10, don’t get in anyone’s way.”

    1. @randommallard Yeah, not good for VB on a day when Russell made it to Q3 on medium tyres versus the Ferraris. Another race start with a self-inflicted grid penalty?

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        3rd July 2021, 16:17

        @david-br Quite possibly. And this is a track he’s generally run well at before. Just shows how his low confidence is at the moment, especially with Russell doing wonders in that Williams. The summons isn’t until 17.20 Local Time (16.20 UK time), so it could still be a while before we hear anything from it though. Although if he gets a penalty/summons I expect Vettel will get a similar one as well.

        1. RandomMallard (@)
          3rd July 2021, 16:18

          And mere seconds after I say that Alonso says Vettel was not to blame. We’ll have to wait and see for both though.

          1. Yeah but if you read the article, he says Vettel as a driver at that point couldn’t do much, as they depend on the team(s) to inform and send them out at the right time @randommallard, so that certainly doesn’t rule out a penalty, just sees him arguing that they need to work on a better solution somehow.

            Though to me, this current rule about not slowing in these two corners, modified per track and made the default will probably work pretty good usually, once teams and drivers fully internalise that, which would be helped by a bit on-the-harsh-side penalties now, ie. Vettel, Bottas, and maybe others?

            @MSoapySage – From the driver tracker, starting from Stroll, Ricciardo, Hamilton and then Russell, all yes were coasting up till T9 but then starting pushing as they went through it, while the driver ahead was exiting T10, Bottas didn’t, he coasted another full 5 seconds.

            If that’s correct, I’d say Bottas isn’t undeserving of a penalty.

          2. RandomMallard (@)
            3rd July 2021, 16:31

            @bosyber I’m with you. They need to find a way of punishing the team without punishing the driver. They’ve used fines in the past, but these effect different teams differently. Maybe they mandate that the penalty pay has to come out of the cost cap.

            Then they could penalise the teams for things like this or unsafe releases without ruining the driver’s whole weekend.

          3. @bosyber The issue with this dumb over-regulation rule is that it is regulating the result rather than fixing the cause.

            They all drive so slowly on out laps now & all back up so much in the final corners because of how bad the tires are. You need to drive super slow to keep temperatures/pressures down so they all baby the awful tires on the out lap & then have to back up at the end because that’s where everyone has met.

            If they gave them decent tires that weren’t so sensitive with such a tiny working window we wouldn’t see these problems.

            Go back to the pre-pirelli era for instance when we had real racing tires that didn’t need so much babying or weren’t so temperature sensitive & you never saw this extreme slow driving or backing up.

            It’s just another side effect of these awful tires we have all had to suffer with in the formula-pirelli comedy cheese tire era.

      2. @david-br Russell could be looking at a P7 start if both Bottas and Vettel are penalised.

        1. Back in Spain only Mazepin was penalized despite he was blocked by two cars in front and had nowhere to go.

          Situation is totally equal. So 3 grid places penalty and 1 super license point for Vettel only. Rules should be equal for everyone.

          1. @regs The difference is Vettel’s impeding had a direct impact on Alonso’s final position, unlike Mazepin’s in Spain or Tsunoda’s last weekend in comparison. Not to mention, he did so between the two corners specified in the event notes, which only worsens the situation, so more than three places wouldn’t be unjustified.

    2. “The main thing is, Turns Nine and 10, don’t get in anyone’s way.”

      Oh man, Karma is so funny sometimes!

  2. Just looked this back on F1tv pro and I’m not a VB fan and even less of Mercedes, but this is nonsense. Half the field overtook Vettel, because Vettel was the only one sticking to the rule of not cueing up between T9 and T10 and thus going slow out of T8. Vettel got screwed by half the field, including Bottas. So either penalties for all of them or no one.

  3. It’s just another example of over-regulation.

    We used to have 30+ cars in qualifying on much narrower tracks with much smaller mirrors & none of the tracking they have now & they just used to be left to get on with it & by & large it never used to cause any significant issues. If a driver got held up a bit or something it was just put down to a part of the sport & everyone moved on, No investigations or penalties dished out.

    But of course you can’t do anything now because both fans & drivers are so used to the nanny state that tells them how to go about every aspect of what they do & people get offended so much easier now that a driver been held up a bit is seen as some outrageous act which can’t be tolerated. Same with other aspects of driving with the over-regulated rules on how they race which leads to dumb penalties that never would have happened in the past when it was just about pure racing when officials never used to step in unless it was deemed absolutely necessary.

    1. @roger-ayles it’s not the getting held up part (which used to happen all the time back in the day). It’s a simple safety issue, the speed that Fernando arrived behind Seb, it’s only Seb’s quick thinking that stopped it being a huge crash. If Seb had been 30ft further back Fernando would have just hit the apex and then the back of the Aston Martin.

      Motorsport is dangerous, but this is a stupid kind of dangerous. ‘Back in the day’ you might come round a blind corner and come across a slower car that held you up. But it was more often than not going faster than a walking pace, that’s the issue. Crawling about at 8mph when people don’t know you’re there.

  4. Bottas being investigated for driving too slow is just too surreal.

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