BARCELONA, Spain -- Haas driver Romain Grosjean has been handed a three-place grid penalty for Monaco after the incident which took him and two other drivers out of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Grosjean spun while coming through Turn 3 on the opening lap, before collecting the approaching cars of Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg. The Frenchman lost control of his car when reacting to a wobble from Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen ahead of him, but was criticised for staying on the throttle after spinning, which caused a puff of smoke around him.
When asked about Grosjean keeping his foot down post-spin, Hulkenberg told BBC Radio Five Live: "It doesn't look great in that scenario. Generally he likes spinning a lot during the weekend but lap one is not a good time to do it.
"It was quite messy Turn 1, 2, cars all over the place and then in Turn 3 I didn't see so much because my vision was blocked with other cars and then last second I saw smoke coming up and saw a car rolling into me or towards me. I tried to avoid on the right but he was coming at me with too much speed and took the whole rear left corner off and that was the end of that.
"I've seen a reply on the way back, not much I can do in that situation, Romain he spins on his own, he's doing the ballet dancer and wipes two out so very frustrating."
During a visit to the race stewards after the incident, the Frenchman explained that he had stayed on the throttle to try and avoid other cars, something which has earned him a three-place grid drop for the Monaco Grand Prix.
The statement on the decision said: "The driver stated to the Stewards that he made the decision to cross the track, trying to avoid the other cars and that he felt this was his best option. The Stewards found that while it is speculation as to where the driver's car would have ended up had he chosen other alternatives, it is certain that while crossing the track in front of the following pack of cars, which he chose to do, that a collision occurred.
"Further, in reviewing the video, the Stewards found that the car was following the line on the left side of the track and was almost fully off the track, when he made the decision to cross it. The Stewards therefore chose to penalise the driver."
Haas boss Guenther Steiner was mid-way through his media session with written media when the decision came through.
"That's kicking the guy in the face when he's on his knees," was his initial reaction.
Steiner went on to point out that Grosjean had not made contact with the other two because of a botched overtake, but due to the awkward position his car was in.
"He was turned and he said 'I had a decision to make, do I stand still or do I go through?' He went through and he knocked two out. If he had stood still maybe he would have knocked five out, we don't know. It's never a good position to be in, the middle of a car track, whatever you do.
"For me it's a start incident and whatever you do afterwards will be wrong. If you go back into the track into the middle, you try to get out of it somehow, I don't know what would have happened if he had stayed in the middle taken five cars out. Maybe they would have liked that better?
"I think it's one of those things. And he didn't do anything at the start, he didn't try to brake late or understeer into anyone. His car spun around. Yes, it doesn't look good when you accelerate when are in the middle of the track, but it's a millisecond decision what you need to make and he made the decision to run across. I feel sorry for them that they were taken out but he didn't try an overtaking manoeuvre to take them out or understeer into anything. At the moment his reputation is not the highest one to do things he shouldn't be doing so maybe he's an easy target."
Grosjean has also been handed two penalty points on his superlicence, taking him to five for the current 12-month rolling period. Drivers are automatically handed a race ban if they ever reach 12 points over a 12 month period.