McLaren & Alonso Punished for Hungarian Qualifying Farce

McLarenThe Stewards have punished McLaren and Alonso for their part in yesterday s qualifying fiasco, which saw Fernando Alonso obstruct his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, preventing the Brit from completing a final flying lap, and thereby losing pole position to the Spaniard.

The Stewards felt that Alonso had ‘unnecessarily impeded another driver after delaying his exit from the ‘pit box in full knowledge that his young team-mate was queuing behind him. For this reason ‘he will be penalised by a loss of 5 grid positions read a FIA press release, dropping the twenty-six year old to sixth on the grid behind the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher. Lewis Hamilton has been promoted to Pole with Heidfeld alongside. Raikkonen will start from third after a difficult qualifying session for Ferrari, with Nico Rosberg fourth ahead of Ralf Schumacher.

Team Vodafone Mercedes have also been punished for their part in what Stewards deemed to be ‘prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally . The Woking based outfit will be unable to accrue any Constructor Championship points from this weekend but have already decided to appeal the decision, with the results from today s race provisional until the next hearing of the FIA s International Court of Appeal.

If upheld, the decision would allow Ferrari to close up on McLaren in the Championship standings. Ferrari currently trail McLaren by 27 points with, including today s race, only seven Grand Prix remaining in 2007. However, with Ferrari struggling this weekend, with Massa down in fourteenth position and Raikkonen third, Hamilton would likely extend McLaren s advantage over their Italian archrival should the decision be later overturned on appeal.