MARINA BAY, Singapore — Romain Grosjean’s failure to obey blue flags during the Singapore Grand Prix has seen the stewards hit him with two penalty points, taking his tally to nine as he inches towards a race ban.
Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin both ignored blue flags on Lap 38 in Singapore as eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen came up to lap them. Both drivers copped a five-second penalty at the time but the two penalty points will be more concerning for Grosjean, who is now just three away from having to sit out a grand prix.
Any driver to pick up 12 penalty points in a 12 month period is automatically handed a one race ban. Grosjean will not have any points deducted until October 29th when he loses one, with a further two points set to be released a fortnight later on November 12th.
Race Director Charlie Whiting said it was “one of the worst cases” of ignoring blue flags he had ever witnessed.
“Romain just completely forgot the golden rule of blue flags,” said Whiting. “If you’re in a battle you’ve got to forget about your own battle and move over. I think he completely forgot about it. It was probably one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time.”
Grosjean himself was apologetic for what happened, claiming it wasn’t done on purpose.
“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” Grosjean said. “I was fighting with Sergey, who was playing a little bit of go-kart racing out there.
“I couldn’t really slow down. As soon as I passed [Sirotkin], I let Lewis by.”
Grosjean has already served a race ban in his career for causing a dramatic opening corner collision during the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, one that almost decapitated Fernando Alonso. He was forced to sit out the following race in Italy.
Sirotkin also picked up two penalty points for ignoring blue flags which takes his total to six.