Maldonado demoted three places

Williams driver will start sixth in Spa

Last Updated: 01/09/12 5:17pm

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Pastor Maldonado has been demoted three grid places for Sunday's Belgian GP after stewards judged him guilty of holding up Force India's Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying.

Maldonado worried about inquiry

Saturday has proved to be a sweet and sour affair for the controversial South American with the Williams driver's brilliant performance in qualifying now substantially devalued by the stewards' ruling.

'The driver of Car 18 was warned by his team not to "hold up" Car 12 which was behind him, yet he clearly did impede Car 12. However as Car 12 continued into Q2 a more severe penalty was not considered appropriate,' the stewards reported.

As a result, instead of lining up in third place, Maldonado will now start in sixth. His punishment promotes Kimi Raikkonen to third, Sergio Perez to fourth and World Championship leader Fernando Alonso to fifth.

In a statement, the stewards declared:

'The Stewards, having received a report from the Race Director and having heard from the drivers and team representatives, have considered the following matter, determine a break of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named below and impose the penalty referred to.

'No/Driver 18 - Pastor Maldonado. Competitor Williams F1 Team.

'Fact: The driver of Car 18 impeded Car 12 and Turns 18 and 19. Offence Breach of Article 31.7 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations. Decision Drop of 3 grid positions.

'Reason: The driver of Car 18 was warned by his team not to "hold up" Car 12 which was behind him, yet he clearly did impede Car 12. However as Car 12 continued into Q2 a more severe penalty was not considered appropriate.

'The FIA Stewards of the Meeting: Garry Connelly Steve Chopping Eliseo Salazar Yves Bacquelaine'.

Meanwhile, the stewards have elected to take no further action against Kimi Raikkonen after ruling that the Lotus didn't gain an advantage after twice leaving the track during Q3.

Updated Starting Grid
1) Jenson Button.
2) Kamui Kobayashi.
3) Kimi Raikkonen.
4) Sergio Perez.
5) Fernando Alonso.
6) Pastor Maldonado.
7) Lewis Hamilton.

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