George Russell has been handed a five-place grid penalty for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone for failing to slow for yellow caution flags during qualifying.

Russell was found guilty of failing to respect double waved yellow flags at Turn 7 that were brought out when his Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi spun off into the gravel.

The Briton came across the incident at the exit of Luffield shortly after Latifi had run backwards into the gravel but insisted over team radio that he had “definitely backed off” and was “well in control”.

But the British Grand Prix stewards disagreed with Russell’s assessment and slapped the Williams driver with a five-place grid drop, as well as handing him three penalty points on his licence.

“The driver, Russell, explained to the Stewards that he only saw the double yellow flag signal at turn seven in his peripheral vision and believed it was just a single yellow,” the stewards noted in a statement.

“He lifted slightly earlier than he had on his previous lap, but his speed was not ‘significantly’ slower than previous laps, although he explained that he was in full control of the car and felt that he would have been able to take avoiding action if needed; and further that he was at a similar speed because he was on a faster lap overall.”

The British GP stewards were also unhappy that Russell was not told to abort his lap by his team.

“The stewards reviewed the team radio and noted that the team warned him that a yellow was ahead,” they continued.

“They did not specify that it was a double yellow flag. Further, they did not advise him that he needed to abort the lap, following the race director’s notes in this regard that he should not be able to set a meaningful lap time. This was, in fact, his fastest lap of Q1.

“The purpose of the race director’s note is to emphasise the extreme importance of the necessity to follow the flag signals for safety reasons. While the stewards explored all possible mitigating factors, they ultimately determined that it was the responsibility of the driver to see and follow the double yellow flag signal correctly in a potentially very dangerous situation.

“The team could certainly have helped more in this regard. But ultimately, he could not set a meaningful lap time in this circumstance, and therefore order a five grid place penalty and three penalty points.”

Russell had qualified 15th for his home event after making it into the second part of qualifying for the third successive race.

He is now set to join AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat – who also has a grid penalty for changing his gearbox – on the back row of the Silverstone grid.

 

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