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.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.