Sports

Norris gets gearbox penalty, starts 14th

Lando Norris has been handed a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change prompted by his heavy crash during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, meaning he will start from 14th.

In heavy rain at the start of the third qualifying session, Norris lost control of his car at Eau Rouge and crashed heavily into the barrier at the top of the hill.

Norris walked away from the crash and was cleared to race on Sunday after having precautionary X-rays on his elbow.

The crash left Norris’ car with significant damage and McLaren was forced to change the gearbox — something which comes with an automatic five-place grid penalty.

As Norris did not set a time in Q3, he had qualified 10th. With Valtteri Bottas’ five-place grid penalty — for driving into the back of the Norris at Turn 1 of the Hungarian Grand Prix — already applied from eighth position, Norris drops back to 14th.

Norris’ penalty means Charles Leclerc moves up to ninth, Nicholas Latifi up to 10th and Carlos Sainz up to 11th. Bottas is 12th after his penalty, ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Norris’ crash prompted discussion about the safety of Eau Rouge, with the barrier Norris crashed into due to undergo changes later this year. Sebastian Vettel said F1 had “got lucky” in the outcome of Norris’ crash — Vettel had been calling for the session to be red-flagged due to the rain shortly beforehand.

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