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Austrian GP results set to change after protest

(Reuters) – The results of the Austrian Grand Prix remained uncertain long after the chequered flag on Sunday with a successful protest by Aston Martin likely to lead to retrospective penalties.

Max Verstappen’s victory for Red Bull did not appear in danger however, with the double world champion more than five seconds clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who was in turn well ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Stewards accepted in a statement that some drivers had not been penalised for exceeding track limits in a race awash with breaches. They said the penalties would be reflected in the final classification, which had yet to be published.

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Six drivers were handed five-second penalties during the race, including Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Mercedes seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, and others were shown warning flags. “An examination of the list of deleted lap times provided to the stewards by race control revealed that a number of track limit infringements had not previously been referred to the stewards for a potential penalty,” they said.

“It was determined that some of these infringements warranted a penalty that was not previously applied when the provisional classification was published.”

A spokesman for the governing FIA said race control had to review more than 1,200 instances in the 71-lap race where a car was reported to have potentially left the track.

Race control dealt with more than 100 deleted laps during the race and was asked to reconcile all of them with the penalties applied. “Due to the specifics of the circuit layout and the propensity of many drivers to repeatedly drive outside of the boundaries of the track, an unprecedented situation arose which resulted in all potential infringements not being able to be reviewed during the race,” said the spokesman.

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General view of fans on the track for the podium ceremony after the race REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

He said the FIA would again recommend that the circuit add a gravel trap at the exit of turns nine and 10, something previously resisted because the circuit also hosts a round of MotoGP. The Red Bull-owned circuit has a contract with Formula One until at least 2030 after an extension was announced on Sunday.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished sixth in the race and teammate Lance Stroll was 10th. The Silverstone-based team are third overall and just six points behind Mercedes.

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