Leclerc and Stroll handed post-sprint penalties in F1 Qatar GP, Williams and Mercedes benefit

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In a huge moment for P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, Williams have managed to grab two points from the F1 Sprint at the Qatar Grand Prix. Alex Albon crossed the line in P8, but he moved up a spot following a post-sprint penalty for Charles Leclerc.

On the final lap, Albon had caught the Monegasque driver as the Ferrari’s soft tyres had fallen to pieces. Using his mediums, the Thai managed to force Leclerc to exceed track limits a whopping four times on the final lap.

Leclerc was immediately reported to the stewards for his offenses and was handed a 5-second sanction for his multiple infringements on lap 19. In a close fight with Mercedes, those two lost points could be very costly indeed. As well as Albon, Fernando Alonso benefitted as he takes the last point for P8.

Another driver who got a post-race penalty was Lance Stroll. The Aston Martin driver also exceeded track limits once too often and got the same penalty as Leclerc.

Leclerc finishes P12 in the final classification, with Stroll dropping to P15.

FIA document:

“The Stewards reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, timing, telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence.

“The cars left the track on four (4) occasions without justifiable reason.

“Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.

“Decisions of the Stewards are taken independently of the FIA and are based solely on the relevant regulations, guidelines and evidence presented.”

The top 8 in the end was Piastri, Verstappen, Norris, Russell, Hamilton, Sainz, Albon and Alonso.

Albon’s two points now give Williams extra breathing space in their fight against Haas and Alfa Romeo in the Constructors’ Championship. They’re now 11 and 13 points clear of those two teams respectively. It was an extraordinary drive from the Thai as he went from P18 to P7 in the end, overtaking six cars in the process.

Mercedes outscored by Ferrari by 6 points in the end, moving them 26 clear overall in the standings ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix.

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari