Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne has dropped to 10th place in the final classification for the United States Grand Prix after the stewards penalized him for a clash with Romain Grosjean.
During the final stages of the race in Austin on Sunday, Vergne made a very aggressive pass on Grosjean heading into turn one to move into the top 10, making contact with the Lotus driver. He went on to finish the race in ninth place ahead of Pastor Maldonado, whilst Grosjean limped home in 11th.
Lotus immediately appealed to the stewards, who subsequently confirmed that Vergne was under investigation for forcing another driver off-track when making the move.
Later on Sunday evening, they confirmed that Vergne had received a five second time penalty, thus dropping him down to 10th place behind Maldonado in the final classification.
“The driver of car #25 is considered to be predominantly at fault for the contact with car #8 at turn one and the consequent forcing of car #8 off the track,” the penalty notice reads.
Vergne was pleased to finish in the top 10 and enjoyed the final fight at COTA, but felt that Grosjean closed the door too sharply at turn one.
“In the final stages I absolutely wanted to gain positions,” Vergne said. “I saw the opportunity to overtake Romain and I decided to go for it. When he closed the door it was just too late.
“At the end, this is racing and you have to fight as much as you can. I like fighting, so it was good fun.”
Despite being the biggest loser from the incident, Grosjean did not gain any positions because of the penalty and remains 11th in the final order.