Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from the back of the grid after being handed a five-place grid drop for a yellow flag infringement in qualifying.
The four-time world champion was a shock Q1 elimination after he was forced to abort his final lap due to two separate yellow flag incidents.
Nikita Mazepin’s spun Haas at Turn 1 caused Vettel to slow down, before another yellow flag was shown when Carlos Sainz slowed at Turn 8.
Vettel was initially cleared, along with three other drivers, for not obeying the single waved flag shown when Sainz slowed due to a mechanical problem.
But the Aston Martin driver was summoned to see the stewards on Sunday morning for allegedly not respecting the double waved yellows for Mazepin earlier in the lap.
Following the hearing, Vettel received a grid drop of five places from his original starting position of 18th, dropping him behind Mazepin and Haas team-mate Mick Schumacher.
In a statement released by the FIA stewards, Vettel, who has also been given three penalty points on his license, was judged to have not followed the rules regarding a double waved yellow flag.
“Vettel did not abandon his lap. He explained to the stewards that he saw the smoke ahead of him, but was unsure if it was a lock-up or a stopped car until he was quite close to the car and the smoke was lifting,” the statement read.
“The stewards observed that he had already passed the signal panel when it illuminated as he approached the scene, and that the marshals in that turn had not yet reacted with a yellow flag. Nevertheless, Vettel was approaching a car that was stopped sideways on the track and by the rule this would necessitate a double yellow flag.
“While the argument that the driver was already inside the sector when it went double yellow evokes sympathy, the stewards feel it is important to note that he was approaching an incident visible ahead of him.
“Further, the car ahead, in the same position, was instructed to abandon the lap, as is intended by the race director’s notes.
“The stewards therefore order the usual penalty in this case, a drop of five grid positions.”