Romain Grosjean is three penalty points away from a race ban after receiving another two during the Singapore Grand Prix.
While battling with Sergey Sirotkin in the midfield, Grosjean was being shown blue flags because race leader Lewis Hamilton had closed up behind him. However, with the Haas and the Williams swapping positions over a number of corners, it meant they both failed to move out of the way in the required time after passing a number of blue flag warnings.
Hamilton lost a significant amount of time behind the battle, with Max Verstappen putting pressure on the race leader until they both cleared the backmarkers and were able to pull away. Both Sirotkin and Grosjean were handed five-second time penalties for the incident, which also included two penalty points.
“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.”
The punishment moves Grosjean on to nine penalty points for the past 12 months, with a driver receiving an automatic one-race ban if they reach 12 points. Having picked up penalties toward the end of last season, Grosjean will be on at least nine points until after the Mexican Grand Prix, when he will see one point drop off his tally, and a further two disappear following the race in Brazil.
Sirotkin now has six points to his name after his penalty today, while Sergio Perez picked up a further three penalty points for causing a collision with the Russian, leaving him with five.
After Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson is the driver with the next highest number of penalty points, with the Swede carrying at least seven until after this year’s United States Grand Prix.
In the last race, Grosjean was disqualified after his car was deemed to be illegal.