Gutierrez and Massa handed grid penalties

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Esteban Gutierrez and Felipe Massa have both been handed three place grid penalties for blocking during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix today.

Gutierrez was found to have compromised Kimi Raikkonen’s flying lap during Q1, and although the Finn still managed to make it into Q2 with ease, the Sauber driver is thought to have been able to avoid the Lotus on track. This marks Gutierrez’s third grid penalty in five races, following a gearbox change in Australia and a penalty in Bahrain for causing an incident at the Chinese Grand Prix.

For Massa, this penalty sees him drop down to P9 on the grid, making his job even harder in the race tomorrow. The Brazilian driver held up Mark Webber during the second qualifying session, provoking a muffled radio response from the Red Bull driver protesting the move.

The stewards were expected to have a busy evening ahead of them following the session, and these penalties are hard to dispute following the TV footage made available. Escaping a penalty is Williams, with one of its drivers coming under fire from Jenson Button during Q1.

Following Massa’s penalty, Romain Grosjean, Mark Webber and Sergio Perez will all move on place up on the grid, leaving Massa on the 5th row alongside Paul di Resta. Gutierrez will drop to P19 on the grid, behind Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado, and Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde who will be delighted to start 18th tomorrow.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”