Ocon handed three-place grid drop in Brazil for blocking Palmer

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Esteban Ocon has been handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Brazil after blocking Jolyon Palmer during qualifying on Saturday at Interlagos.

Palmer came across Ocon at Turn 4 while on a fast lap, with the slow-moving Manor forcing him off the racing line and compromising his lap.

The stewards confirmed mid-session they would be investigating the incident, before deeming Ocon to be at fault and handing the Frenchman a three-place penalty.

Ocon qualified 20th for Manor on Saturday ahead of the two Saubers, meaning he will drop down to P22 – or last – on the grid for the start at Interlagos.

“At the end of the Q1 session, the Driver of Car 31 (Ocon) was on a slow lap having aborted his lap previously, while the Driver of Car 30 (Palmer) was on a fast lap,” a statement from the FIA reads.

“Entering the braking area of Turn 4 Ocon stayed on the racing line at the moment when Palmer was approaching, forcing Palmer off the racing line.

“At that time, Ocon was on the radio with his team, who did not inform him of the approaching car. When Ocon did see Palmer, he moved as far as possible to the right to avoid a dangerous situation, but the Stewards concluded these were not mitigating factors, and that Ocon clearly impeded Palmer.”

Ocon has also been awarded two penalty points on his FIA super license, taking his total to four in the past 12 months.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 10am ET on Sunday.