Esteban Ocon was found guilty of impeding Sebastian Vettel during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying.
Traffic turned out to be one of the biggest challenges during the qualifying session in Abu Dhabi. A lot of cars lined up at the final sector ahead of their flying lap attempts in Q2. This caused misunderstanding and affected the results of several drivers.
After the session, Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, and Esteban Ocon were under investigation for allegedly blocking Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly, and Vettel respectively. While the stewards decided that no further action was needed regarding Ricciardo and Vettel, Ocon got a reprimand.
“This incident shared many common elements with the other incidents of alleged impeding from Qualification. Most cars did very slow warm-up laps resulting in significantly large differences in speed to cars on fast laps,” the stewards’ statement read.
“This combined with the desire of all drivers to establish a gap to the car in front when starting a fast lap, results in situations where a car may have an “impact” on another car doing a fast lap. However, the Stewards consider this is different to “impeding” and in particular, “unnecessarily impeding.”
“It is the Stewards’ determination that the driver of Car 31 [Ocon] could have done little if anything to avoid impacting Car 5’s [Vettel’s] lap, but note that the Team [Alpine] could have done more to have given him earlier warning of Car 5’s approach.”
“Although normally the lack of radio communication does not absolve a driver from the responsibility to avoid unnecessarily impeding, in this case we consider this a justification for mitigation. Therefore, no grid penalty is imposed.”