Romain Grosjean accused rival Sergey Sirotkin of “go-kart racing” tactics after he was penalised for failing to let Lewis Hamilton past while racing the Williams driver.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting described Grosjean’s slow reaction to the blue flags being waved for him as “one of the worst” examples of a backmarker failing to let the leaders past.
Grosjean, who was given a five-second time penalty and had his licence endorsed, apologised for delaying Hamilton but said Sirotkin’s driving left him with no alternative.
“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” said Grosjean. “I believe I did my best.”
“I was fighting with Sergey, who was doing a little bit of go-kart racing out there. I couldn’t really slow down. Pierre [Gasly] was on my gearbox and Sergey was on my front wing. I passed him, then as soon as I passed him, I let Lewis by.”
Grosjean’s penalty dropped him from 13th place to 15th in the final classification. Team principal Guenther Steiner said he paid the price of having to start on used tyres because he qualified in the top 10.
“If you have to start on these tyres, and the other ones are so much superior, if you qualify outside of the top 10 you have such an advantage.
“Then we got stuck behind the Williams, which didn’t move out of the way, one thing went to another, and that’s where we ended up.”
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