Romain Grosjean has been demoted two places on the starting grid for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix after jumping the queue at the start of the second stage of qualifying on Saturday.
With a thunderstorm quickly approaching the Sepang International Circuit before the start of Q2, all of the teams sent their drivers out early to queue at the end of the pit lane before the session started in a bid to get a better track position.
Grosjean was called before the race stewards after the session on Saturday when he was accused of not staying in the right place in the pit lane, thus gaining an advantage over the other drivers.
In a simple statement, the stewards confirmed that Grosjean would be demoted two places on the grid because he “failed to leave the pit lane in the order of his arrival”.
Having qualified eighth on Saturday for Lotus, Grosjean will now start the race from tenth place behind Valtteri Bottas and Marcus Ericsson, both of whom gain a position as a result of the decision.
In spite of his penalty, Grosjean remained upbeat following qualifying as he goes in search of his first top ten finish since last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“We had never driven with wets on the car before so it was a bit of a discovery mission but everything was good,” Grosjean said. “It wasn’t an easy qualy, but the team made the right calls.
“It was a safe choice to go out on extremes wets first. We then went onto inters but the timing didn’t allow us to finish our lap so we had to pit. We only did one timed lap in those conditions but we made it and I think we got the best we could.
“The race is going to be interesting. We have quite a mix of cars around us but it’s a long race, it’s a hot race and even without rain, it’s quite a demanding race on the cars and on drivers. It’ll definitely be interesting!”
Grosjean’s teammate, Pastor Maldonado, was caught out by the rain shower, and will start the race from 12th place on the grid as a result.
The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30a ET tomorrow.