Rosberg demoted to third for radio messages

© XPB 

Nico Rosberg has been demoted to third place in the British Grand Prix as a result of radio messages received late in the race.

Running second ahead of Max Verstappen, Rosberg suffered a gearbox problem and took to team radio to inform Mercedes. His race engineer then gave Rosberg a settings change to make before telling him to "avoid seventh gear". With the German requesting what that meant as he would need to shift through seventh, Mercedes confirmed he could do so.

Following a long investigation by the stewards, Rosberg was hit with a 10 second time penalty which was applied to his race time, dropping him to third place behind Verstappen who had finished the race within two second of the Mercedes.

The full stewards decision read:

"Having considered the matter extensively, the Stewards determined that the team gave some instructions to the driver that were specifically permitted under Technical Directive 014-16. However, the Stewards determined that the team then went further and gave instructions to the driver that were not permitted under the Technical Directive, and were in Breach of Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided."

Mercedes has already confirmed it has lodged its notice of intention to appeal against the decision.

At the start of the season, race director Charlie Whiting confirmed telling a driver what to do that helped him drive the car was likely to lead to time penalties.

“It would depend on the level of the breach," Whiting said. "If it was a simple one we would let them get away with at this stage, but if it was a more serious one the stewards might consider a reprimand, but if they were to do something that really helped the driver do something that he should be doing himself, then I suspect a time penalty might be more appropriate.”

The decision also sees Rosberg's advantage over team-mate Lewis Hamilton cut from four points to just one point, with the 18 points he would have gained for second place reduced to 15 points for third.

Speaking before the decision was handed out, Rosberg said any potential breach of regulations would not be his doing.

"It has nothing to do with me because I’m allowed to say what I want on the radio, so from that point of view I’ll just leave it down to the stewards to make their call and to discuss with the team, that’s it," Rosberg said. "The team have definitely studied the rules in and out so they know what they are doing and I have full faith that it will be ok."

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