Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was promoted to the front row of the Canadian Grand Prix starting grid on Saturday after Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg collected a three-place penalty for an infringement in qualifying and dropped to fifth.
Hulkenberg had qualified second, with Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen on pole position, but was demoted for failing to stay above a minimum time when red flags were waved.
“The regulation is very clear and whilst there is no question of the driver acting dangerously or driving unsafely, there was a breach and thus a penalty has to be imposed,” stewards said in a statement.
“The normal penalty for failure to slow under red flags is 10 grid positions however in view of the mitigating circumstance, a lower penalty is appropriate.
“We note the intention of the regulation is to ensure a car is not speeding during a red flag situation and there is no evidence that the speed was excessive in this case.”
Second place would have been the highest position a Haas driver has started a regular grand prix.
Hulkenberg’s team mate Kevin Magnussen qualified on pole for a sprint race in Brazil last November but started the regular grand prix in eighth place.
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