New Delhi, Oct 28: McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton will be pushed back three grid positions from where he qualifies for the Indian Grand Prix after being punished by stewards for ignoring yellow flags during Friday's opening practice.
Hamilton set the fastest time in opening practice but that was soon tarnished by a stewards' ruling that he had ignored double waved yellow flags late in the session while crews were retrieving another car near the edge of the track.
It was the latest in a series of stewards' punishments this season for Hamilton, who had previously expressed frustration with the frequency of the sanctions and had asked whether he was being singled out by the officials.
Sauber driver Sergio Perez was penalized for the same offense earlier in the session, and will also drop three grid spots.
Hamilton's best time of 1 minute, 26.836 seconds around the Buddh International circuit was half a second quicker than world champion Sebastian Vettel, with Mark Webber close up in third.
Fernando Alonso suffered a power-drive failure in his Ferrari and was the major casualty of the opening session, although many drivers ran off the track as they struggled for grip on the dusty circuit and tested the limits as they familiarized themselves with the layout.
The session was red flagged early because of a stray dog on the track, causing a five-minute delay.
The Mercedes pair of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were fifth and sixth fastest respectively in a good start to a race weekend in which the team expects to be suited by the Delhi layout.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was seventh fastest, despite an off-track excursion that left his front wing loose and scraping the track.
Force India's Adrian Sutil, Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi completed the top 10.
The Williams of Pastor Maldonado ground to a halt in a plume of smoke after an engine failure.