Piastri loses P2 at Imola for impeding Magnussen in qualifying

Oscar Piastri has lost his front-row starting position at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix for impeding Kevin Magnussen during qualifying.

The McLaren driver originally qualified just 0.074s behind Max Verstappen in second place on the grid in Imola, with teammate Lando Norris third. However, Piastri was investigated for impeding Magnussen in Q1, with the Haas arriving at speed at the Tamburello chicane and complaining he was held up as he failed to advance.

The stewards investigated the incident after the session and deemed that Piastri deserved a three-place grid penalty, stating it was his team’s fault for not informing him of Magnussen approaching early enough.


“Piastri was exiting the pits and Magnussen was on his fast lap,” the decision read. “Piastri impeded Magnussen at the chicane at Turns 2 and 3.

“The Stewards accepted the explanation of Piastri that because of the layout of the circuit at that location, he could not see Magnussen until it was too late, at which time he tried to accelerate away in order to get clear of Magnussen as quickly as possible. Magnussen acknowledged that it was difficult for drivers to see cars behind in many portions of the track, including here.

“However, the Stewards reviewed the team radio and Piastri’s team did not warn him of the much faster approaching car until Magnussen was too close for Piastri to do anything to safely avoid impeding. In fact there was an approximately 140kmh speed differential and Magnussen was only approximately 40-50m behind at the time and this meant that Piastri was in the middle of the chicane when Magnussen caught up directly behind Piastri. Further, it was clear that Magnussen was on a fast lap since his exit of Turn 19.

“The Stewards also reviewed where other drivers were warned of approaching cars and it was significantly earlier, and they were able to avoid impeding at Turn 2/3. Traffic management for slower cars is an extremely important part of the team/driver combination, particularly in Q1. In this instance the Stewards determine that the lack of sufficient warning caused an ‘unnecessary impeding.’”

The three-place grid drop means Piastri will now start from fifth place on Sunday, with Norris joining Verstappen on the front row, and the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz making up row two.

Story originally appeared on Racer