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AUGUST 27, 2011

Grid penalty for Maldonado; Hamilton reprimanded

Pastor Maldonado has been given a five-place grid penalty and Lewis Hamilton a reprimand after their bout of 'afters' at the end of Q2 at Spa.

The pair made light contact as Hamilton overtook Maldonado's Williams at the last corner en route to setting second quickest time in Q2, but there was no question of the incident costing Maldonado the chance of progressing to Q3, the Venezuelan missing out by 3.4s.

With the chequered flag out at the end of the session, however, there was unnecessary contact between the pair on the run down from La Source to Eau Rouge on the slowing down lap.

Video footage of the incident showed that Hamilton appeared to jink right out of La Source while Maldonado was attempting to come alongside, then again later as the Williams moved left and across Hamilton's bows.

"I think at the time it had begun to rain a little bit more towards the end of the session and I think I got a bit more wheelspin," Hamilton explained.

"I was just continuing my line and I went a little bit right and then I saw that he had moved out, so I went back and then he was in a bit of a blind spot. I continued to drive straight and let him pass but then he ended up right beside me and I was quite lucky that his rear wheel didn't get my front wheel and I didn't get any more damage."

Maldonado's version was: "He slowed down a lot at the end of the session, so I tried to go past him. I then felt contact at the back of my car. I don't really know what happened. It was a difficult moment."

The race stewards, of which Nigel Mansell is the ex-driver on the Spa panel, ruled that both drivers had breached the regulations and were guilty of causing a collision, but with Maldonado's transgression obviously considered the more serious. The Williams driver will now start the race 21st.