March 30, 2019 / 6:23 PM / 4 months ago

Motor racing: Grosjean handed three-place grid drop in Bahrain

Formula One F1 - Bahrain Grand Prix - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - March 29, 2019 Haas' Romain Grosjean in the pits during practice REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

MANAMA (Reuters) - Haas Formula One driver Romain Grosjean was handed a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix after impeding McLaren’s Lando Norris in qualifying.

Race stewards ruled the Frenchman, who had qualified eighth, had driven unnecessarily slowly during the opening phase at Sakhir on Saturday.

The grid drop lifted 19-year-old British rookie Norris up from 10th to ninth, his second top-10 start in two races, with Kimi Raikkonen now eighth for Alfa Romeo and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo 10th.

Grosjean was also handed a penalty point, taking his 12- month tally to eight and leaving him four from a potential one- race ban.

The stewards said in a statement they accepted Grosjean had not acted intentionally, and was not warned by the team of Norris’s rapid approach behind him, but had a responsibility to be aware of others.

The difference in speed at the point where Norris had to take evasive action was 136 kph.

McLaren had Spaniard Carlos Sainz qualify seventh while Haas’s Kevin Magnussen lines up sixth.

Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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