Seven drivers share 168 places worth of grid penalties for Italian GP

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In what is becoming a recurring story in Formula 1, more than a third of the grid has been hit with a grid penalty for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

Six of the seven were penalized for making changes to their power unit and exceeding the limit of four of each component per season.

Although none of the teams were able to outdo McLaren’s record 105 grid drop in Belgium, some were hit with multiple penalties, resulting in a very jumbled rear end of the grid.

So, without further ado, here is the driver-by-driver penalty run-down.

Marcus Ericsson – qualified P9, starts P12

Ericsson is the only driver whose grid drop is not the result of a power unit change. The Swede was penalized three grid positions for blocking Nico Hulkenberg in Q1 on Saturday, leaving him 12th for the start of the race.

Jenson Button – qualified P16, starts P15

Yes – Button actually gains a position from his qualifying result despite having a five-place grid penalty for taking an additional ninth power unit element.

Fernando Alonso – qualified P17, starts P16

The same is true for Fernando Alonso, who has a ten-place penalty for taking a ninth power unit element for the first time.

Carlos Sainz Jr – qualified P13, starts P17

Sainz drops down the grid after racking up 35 places worth of penalties over the Monza weekend. The Spaniard’s car has taken fifth and sixth sets of elements, resulting in the grid drop.

Daniil Kvyat – qualified P14, starts P18

Red Bull has been the biggest offender when it comes to power unit changes at Monza. Kvyat racks up 30 places worth of grid drop due to changes made to his power unit, with another five coming thanks to a gearbox change. All in all, he serves just four places.

Daniel Ricciardo – qualified P15, starts P19

Ricciardo’s weekend has been nothing short of a nightmare thanks to problems with his power unit. After fitting a new one and giving himself a 25-place grid penalty, said power unit failed during FP3, forcing Red Bull into fitting another one. So all in all, it’s a 50-place grid drop.

Max Verstappen – failed to qualify, starts P20

Verstappen’s problems were such that he was unable to get out during qualifying, and therefore technically failed to qualify. Of course, the stewards have given him permission to race, albeit with a 30-place grid penalty and a drive-through for the race after he was unsafely released in FP3.

Although Ricciardo should start 65th and Verstappen should only be 50th on an infinite grid, as Verstappen did not qualify, he automatically starts from the back.

So here’s what the provisional grid looks like for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
5. Felipe Massa Williams
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Sergio Perez Force India
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
11. Felipe Nasr Sauber
12. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
13. Will Stevens Manor
14. Roberto Merhi Manor
15. Jenson Button McLaren
16. Fernando Alonso McLaren
17. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
18. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
19. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
20. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Why Sebring is so special to Bobby Rahal

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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.

But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.

As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:

“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.

“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.

“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”

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