Vettel, who qualified eighth, lost three grid positions and suffered a single penalty point on his superlicence after blocking Alonso at the end of the Alpine rider’s fastest lap in Q2.
Vettel, who drives for Aston Martin, was at the back of a line of cars waiting to start a rolling lap and ended up hampering Alonso as he exited the last corner (turn 10).
The incident ruined any chance Alonso had to make the top 10 in qualifying, while Vettel made the cut for Q3 thanks to a lap he had established earlier in Q2.
After reviewing the evidence and speaking to the drivers involved, the stewards issued the following statement regarding Vettel’s three grid step penalty.
“Alonso was on his quick lap just before the end of Q2,” the statement read.
“As he approached the last two corners (9 and 10) there was still a line of three cars preparing for their final qualifying lap.
“Vettel was the last car in this line and hampered Alonso and as a result Alonso had to abandon their last qualifying lap.”
Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz, who were in two of the cars ahead of Vettel on the track at the end of the lap, were both investigated for driving unnecessarily slowly between Turn 9 and Turn 10, but the marshals determined that no pilot was not to blame for the situation.
Speaking to the media after the session, Vettel said he was unfairly placed at the back of the queue for drivers wanting to start a lap between Turn 8 and Turn 9, only for those cars to slow down. in front of him between turns 9 and 10.
Vettel referred to an agreement between the drivers and FIA Race Director Michael Masi that those who want to start a lap would slow down to find space between Turn 8 and Turn 9, but make sure that they were at full speed between Turn 9 and Turn 10.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong on my end,” Vettel said. “I was the last one in the line. But I don’t think the others should skip the line where we agreed to slow down and then slow down. So I don’t know if they are. weren’t listening.
“We agreed to slow down between Turn 8 and Turn 9, which I did, but everyone is passing me and skipping the line,” added Vettel. “And then they all slow down between 9 and 10 where we agreed not to slow down. So now you know the rest of the story.”
“As soon as I looked in the mirror [in Turn 10], because it’s not a nice place to meet traffic, and I saw it [Alonso] Coming in, about half a second later, just after seeing it and sped up, I got the radio call. So I tried to avoid it and practically canceled my turn. “
Max Verstappen starts on pole with Lando Norris lined up in the front row for the first time. His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez starts on the second row alongside Lewis Hamilton.