Renault driver Vitaly Petrov will be demoted five places from his qualifying grid position in the upcoming Korean GP. Stewards dished out the punishment for his role in the start-line incident at Suzuka yesterday, where the Russian charged ahead of Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg and veered left before fully passing the German.

His Renault clipped the Williams’ front wheel, catapulting the yellow car into the barriers on the main straight. Hulkenberg’s race also ended because of that. In defence, Petrov said he was trying to avoid Nick Heidfeld’s Sauber, but the stewards were unmoved and said he caused an avoidable collision.

“I made a good start and managed to overtake Massa. I was then going passed Hulkenberg with Heidfeld on my right when he started to move left and so I also had to move left to avoid him. Unfortunately I hit the side of Hulkenberg’s car and this is why I crashed,” the Russian rookie explained.

The Suzuka stewards also investigated the Turn 1 incident between Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi that led to both retiring, but decided that no action was necessary.