May 11th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Felipe Massa and Esteban Gutierrez were each handed a three-place grid penalty after the stewards found they had impeded other drivers during today's qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix. After the penalties, Massa will start the race 9th, with Gutierrez 19th.
Gutierrez got in the way of Kimi Raikkonen during Q1, clearly holding the Lotus driver up through the final chicane in the final sector of his flying lap. Although Raikkonen's grid position was not affected by the incident, he did lose a significant amount of time on that particular lap and Gutierrez could easily have avoided getting in his way.
Felipe Massa's incident occurred during Q2 when he held up Mark Webber in turn 12 when Webber was on a flying lap. Webber still managed to proceed to Q3 and ended up setting the 8th fastest time of the session. After Massa's penalty, Webber is promoted to 7th on the grid.
Massa felt his penalty was unnecessary, as Webber was not on a fresh set of tyres and therefore would have had to pit before being able to post a competitive lap time. However, Massa did get in the way while Webber was on a flying lap, and therefore the stewards felt the penalty was justified.
Gutierrez's Formula One career has got off to an uninspiring start, with no points from four races and several rookie mistakes in the early part of the season. He is under constant scrutiny by the Sauber team and needs to avoid situations like this if he is to cement his place in Formual One.