F1 Australian GP : Indonesian Rio Haryanto Grid Penalty

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Indonesian rookie Rio Haryanto's Formula One debut turned sour on Saturday when he was punished for a pit-lane crash during the final practice at the Australian Grand Prix and condemned to start the race from back of the grid.
Rio Haryanto  pit-lane crash in the final practice at the Australian Grand Prix

The 23-year-old from central Java, his nation's first F1 driver, rolled out of the Manor Racing garage at the start of the session and straight into the side of Romain Grosjean's Haas. Frenchman Grosjean had entered the pit-lane first and stewards came down hard on Haryanto, slapping him with a three-grid position penalty and two penalty points.  

Haryanto has been given a three-place grid penalty and has been handed two penalty points after pulling out of his garage and colliding into the Haas F1 machine driven by Romain Grosjean in the early moments of Saturday’s FP3 session at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia.

“Honestly I didn't plan to have a collision, but it's one of those things. Obviously we went out of the garages at exactly the same time and it was quite narrow. I was looking at getting out of the garage and I didn't expect him to also be coming quickly in the pit lane.

“It's time to move on and I'm sure myself and the team will learn from it. I had some clutch hesitation and to be honest I didn't see that Romain was coming but I'm sure he would have seen me there as I was just next to him.”

Despite this, the GP2 race winner did make some amends by out-qualifying his highly-rated Manor team-mate Pascal Wehrlein on pace alone – albeit in 21st -, but will start behind him when the penalty takes effect.

“Even during the testing he was always ahead of me and I think in qualifying with the same conditions on the track at the same time it was really close. I did the best of what I can do and I'm sure there is still more to come.”

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Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident although it did cost both drivers track time during the final practice session ahead of this weekend’s race.

Haryanto is the first F1 driver to have been handed a grid penalty in 2016.
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