Hamilton to start fifth in Austria after grid penalty

Lewis Hamilton faced a nervous wait after qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix and he duly received a three-place grid penalty.

Lewis Hamilton has been handed a 3-place grid penalty for the incident with Kimi Raikkonen during Q1.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton will start the Austrian Grand Prix from fifth after being handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen.

During qualifying, race stewards announced they would be investigating after Hamilton was alleged to have blocked Alfa Romeo's Raikkonen in Q1.

Championship leader Hamilton ultimately qualified in second place, behind Charles Leclerc – who claimed his second Formula One pole position – and ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Verstappen, who won last year's race in Spielberg, was the biggest beneficiary of the decision as he was promoted to the front row with Leclerc.

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Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas moved up to third, while Lando Norris will start fourth, two spots higher than his qualifying position after Kevin Magnussen also received a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change.

Raikkonen was on a flying lap in the run up to turn three, while Hamilton, who appeared to make a late move to get out of the way, was not.

"Although car 44 [Hamilton] tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car seven [Raikkonen] approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding car seven, which had to then abort the lap," read the stewards' official decision.

"It was determined that car 44 unnecessarily impeded car seven at turn three."

The two drivers and team representatives were called to speak to the stewards after qualifying, and video evidence was reviewed. Raikkonen said over team radio at the time of the incident: "Hamilton completely blocked me."

Raikkonen still made it into Q3 and came seventh, though the Finn will start sixth due to the punishment given to Haas' Magnussen.

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"I don't know why he slowed down and didn't let me pass," Raikkonen told reporters before the decision was announced. "He kind of slowed down and then sped up on the racing line, but we'll see what happens."

Hamilton, meanwhile, said: "I saw one of the team's [Alfa Romeo's] cars came by, I was braking for the hairpin, turn three, saw the other one coming and got on the brakes and went on. 

"I didn't meet them in the corner but I put them off. I wasn't aware of the car coming but it was not the easiest."

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