Lewis Hamilton will not be in danger of being handed a race ban between now and the end of the current F1 season, although two drivers could be at risk of accumulating the required 12 penalty points if they fail to clean up their acts. The points system, which was introduced by the FIA in 2014, sees drivers penalised for breaking the rules and aims to prevent consistent breaches by taking into account any offences within the last 12 months.
Drivers can eventually be banned for one Grand Prix if they receive 12 points in a single year, although this has never happened in F1 in the years since the system was brought in. The limit has been reached by some in Formula Two, though, with Alpine junior Olli Caldwell missing this year’s event at Spa just weeks after Amaury Cordeel was suspended for the Silverstone round.
Yuki Tsunoda currently has the highest number of penalty points on the F1 grid with eight and will face a ban if he picks up four more before the end of the year. His most recent penalty came during FP2 at the Italian Grand Prix, when he failed to slow for yellow flags, and he will need to wait until mid-November for any of his points to expire.
Pierre Gasly, meanwhile, sits in second place with seven points despite briefly moving up to nine after speeding under red flag conditions at the Japanese Grand Prix. However, the two points he received for causing a collision with Lance Stroll at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix expired the very next day, which saw his tally drop back down to seven.
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Further down the order, Alex Albon is the only driver on six points ahead of Esteban Ocon and newly-crowned world champion Max Verstappen, who are both on five. Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Zhou Guanyu all have four points as things stand, while Nicholas Latifi, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen are one rung further down the ladder on three each.
Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel and George Russell currently have two points on their respective FIA licences, with the latter receiving both of his after causing a collision with Perez at this year’s Austrian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc, who initially looked set to challenge for the Drivers’ Championship title but quickly ran out of steam, is one of three drivers on a single point alongside Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris.
Three more can boast a clean slate, with Hamilton joining Mick Schumacher and Carlos Sainz on the list of the best-behaved drivers on the grid. It remains unlikely that any driver will receive a race ban before the season draws to a close, although the AlphaTauri duo of Tsunoda and Gasly would appear to be the most likely candidates at this stage.
There are now just four races left until the end of the year, with F1 set to travel to Austin next weekend for the return of the United States Grand Prix. Although the Drivers’ Championship title has already been wrapped up, there are still scores to be settled away from top spot and in the Constructors’ Championship, with Ferrari and Mercedes only separated by a margin of 67 points behind runaway leaders Red Bull.
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