Romain Grosjean’s Hungarian Grand Prix was effectively ruined by a drive-through penalty for “exceeding track limits” when he passed Felipe Massa around the outside of turn 4. It was a superb move, displaying the level of skill worthy of a top F1 driver. But the stewards deemed it illegal and Grosjean had to drive through the pits at 80km/h as a result.
Grosjean got a good run on Massa on the outside leading up to turn 4, held his nerve to attack round the outside, made the pass and ran a couple of centimetres off the track on the exit of the corner. The pass was done by that point. He certainly did not need to run off the track to make the move stick. If anything, he needed to give Massa a little bit of space, as the Ferrari was always going to drift towards him.
The rules are that the white lines mark the limits of the track and the drivers are required to keep at least one wheel within those lines at all times. So from that perspective, Grosjean could be penalised. But then the stewards should have been looking at all of the other instances of drivers running wide at a number of corners on the race track. It wasn’t just Grosjean. It was all of the drivers.
The penalty showed a total lack of consistency from the stewards. It was unnecessary and unjustified and cost him a potential podium finish. Such a shame, as he was having a brilliant race.
Of course, Grosjean was involved in another incident, when he drove into Jenson Button, where a penalty was absolutely justified. The stewards decided that one had to be investigated after the race, and when they got around to it they added 20 seconds to his race time. He was more than 20 seconds ahead of Jenson Button at the end of the race, and therefore the penalty had no effect whatsoever.
Here’s a video analysing the two incidents (Apologies for the poor sound):