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Australian Grand Prix qualifying result changed as Red Bull hit with penalty

The Mexican driver produced an impressive qualifying session in Melbourne, finishing third behind team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, but he will have to start the race from sixth due to this penalty.

Hulkenberg, whose Q1 lap was ruined by the incident, was left frustrated with Perez after the session. He explained: “I got held up on my first run by Perez which wasn’t ideal, and then my second lap wasn’t clean.”

The German racer was eliminated in Q1 as a result of his messy qualifying, although the stewards’ decision to penalise Perez will serve as a minor consolation.

While Perez will now face a battle to extend his run of second-place finishes to three, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri will all benefit from the 34-year-old’s woes, moving forward one spot each on the grid. Norris will now start in P3, Leclerc in P4 and Piastri in P5.

Explaining the stewards’ decision, an FIA report stated: “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 11 (Sergio Perez), the driver of Car 27 (Nico Hulkenberg), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence.

“Hulkenberg was on a fast lap when he approached turn 13. Perez, who was on an out lap was at the apex of the turn and Hulkenberg had to leave the racing line to drive around him. Hulkenberg was forced to lift the throttle early and brake early for that corner.

“In reviewing the audio from Perez’s car, the Stewards observed that the team was focused on the car in front of Perez that had just slowed, and did not give Perez a warning that Hulkenberg was behind him until one second before Hulkenberg arrived, and significantly too late to avoid impeding Hulkenberg.”

Elsewhere, Pierre Gasly was investigated for crossing the pit-exit line during qualifying, although the FIA stewards opted not to penalise the Alpine driver, deciding that an official reprimand was punishment enough.

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