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Heikki cops 5-place penalty

2012-03-18 19:02

Nick Mulvenney

OUT TO GRASS: Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen of Finland runs out of track during the 2012 F1 GP in Melbourne. He finished seventh after starting 18th. Image: AFP

MELBOURNE, Australia - Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen will be penalised by five places on the grid for the 2012 Malaysian Formula 1 GP on March 25.

He was guilty of overtaking while the pace car was out during the season-opening GP in Australia on Sunday though made stirring progress through the field to finish seventh after starting 18th - a promising performance for the rest of the season after being out of F1 for two years.

The Finn, who retired from the race on lap 41 of 58 laps with a suspension problem, was punished by race stewards for passing two rivals.


The sanction was a further blow to his team, Caterham, at the end of a disappointing day during which they had hoped to compete with the teams in the middle of the field but instead suffered two retirements.

Russian Vitaly Petrov, who in 2011 reached third in the same race at Albert Park for Renault, made his exit on lap 36 because with a steering-wheel problem.

Marussia, which had not been able to test its car pre-season, managed to get both German Timo Glock and French rookie Charles Pic home in 14th and 15th places respectively, though well off the pace.

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