GP3 front-runner Conor Daly has been hit by a controversial 10-place grid penalty for Saturday's opening Valencia round by race stewards after they decided his actions were responsible for the accident that led to him flying into the catch fencing in Monaco last month.
Lotus GP driver Daly, who was second fastest in practice at Valencia this morning, was judged to be at fault. He had stormed from 12th place from 23rd on the Race 2 grid on the opening lap in Monaco, but then got stuck behind Dmitry Suranovich.
Daly hit the Marussia Manor car during their battle, removing Suranovich's rear wing, but the Russian continued in front of him.
On lap 11, Daly was launched into the air over the back of Suranovich's car shortly after they'd exited the tunnel, making contact with the top of the debris fence on the harbour side before crashing back down onto the track. Daly was unhurt, but the race had to stopped due to barrier damage.
In his RACER.com blog, Daly blamed Suranovich for the clash, and at the time most observers agreed, as the Russian was defending aggressively despite driving a severely damaged car. Indeed, Suranovich was excluded from the results following the accident. However, stewards have now opted to instead penalize Daly, as they ruled he had "collided with the rear of another competitor and removed the rear wing. After colliding again with the rear of the same competitor, the race was red flagged."
Daly will drop 10 places from his qualifying position for Race 1 in Valencia as a result of the decision.