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Grosjean, Palmer hit with grid penalties for Chinese GP

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Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer will drop to the back of the grid for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix after failing to slow for yellow flags during Formula 1 qualifying in Shanghai.

Grosjean and Palmer qualified 17th and 18th respectively on Saturday, with both drivers failing to make it out of Q1 after their final laps were hampered by yellow flags shown following a crash for Antonio Giovinazzi at the final corner.

Both drivers completed their laps, much to the disapproval of the stewards, who felt that the drivers did not make a sufficient enough attempt to slow.

“The stewards heard from Romain Grosjean, the driver of car 8 and the team representative and have reviewed the video evidence which clearly showed that the driver attempted to set a meaningful lap time after passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector, contrary to the requirements set out in the Race Director’s Event Notes,” the stewards’ report for Grosjean reads.

“The Stewards also took into consideration that the driver made no attempt to significantly reduce his speed in the area of a double waved yellow flag.”

As a result, both Grosjean and Palmer have been handed a five-place grid penalty, causing them to drop to the final row of the grid. Grosjean will start 19th, with Palmer propping up the order in P20.

Grosjean was far from impressed by the penalty, taking to Twitter to share the data of his lap to prove that he slowed down.

The penalties lift Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon off the back row of the grid, moving up to P17 and P18 respectively.

The Chinese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 1am ET on Sunday.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.