George Russell has been handed a three-place grid penalty for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix Sprint after being found to have impeded Charles Leclerc during the Shootout.

In preparation for a final flying attempt in SQ1, Russell slowed in the final sector of the circuit before he was caught by the fast approaching Leclerc.

The Ferrari driver, on a flying lap himself, found himself needing to avoid Russell who occupied the racing line at the exit of Turn 19.

After investigating the incident, the stewards have awarded the Mercedes driver a three-place grid drop for this evening’s Sprint race.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 63 (George Russell), the driver of Car 16 (Charles Leclerc), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, timing team radio and in-car video evidence,” the Steward’s report read.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leaves the pits.
21.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Sprint Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“Car 63 entered the last two corners preparing for his flying lap at the end of SQ1 with Car 16 closing in quickly. Whilst the team did inform the driver about the closing car a few seconds in advance, there was no further information directly before Car 63 entered Turn 19 with Car 16 right behind.

“Car 63 did not move from the racing line in or after Turn 19 and therefore unnecessarily impeded Car 16.

“The Stewards note that irrespective of any information coming from the team, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that no other cars are unnecessarily impeded.”

Russell has struggled so far this weekend in comparison to team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time champion will start the Sprint from third on the grid, but a penalty for Russell sees the 25-year-old drop from 8th to 11th.

Leclerc will start Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix Sprint from second on the grid, with lights out set for 17:00 local time.

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