Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will start the Qatar Grand Prix from seventh place after receiving a starting penalty of five places for an infringement in qualifying.
- Max Verstappen didn’t slow down during a stretch of the track where the double yellow flag was lifted
- The Red Bull driver starts in seventh, while World Championship rival Lewis Hamilton is on pole position
- Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings with 14 points
On his last flying lap on Saturday, when the double yellow flags were given up, the championship leader didn’t slow down in a section near the finish line.
Drivers have to drive more slowly on sections of the route where double yellow flags are lifted due to an incident.
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly drove to the edge of the racetrack after a flat tire near the finish line.
Verstappen had qualified second for the race on Sunday behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was also given a three-place penalty for the same offense.
Ironically, the penalties put Gasly on the front row alongside Hamilton.
Commissioners said they had “sympathy” for Verstappen, whose team argued it was not clear whether drivers needed to slow down because the FIA disabled the yellow flag signal before the Red Bull driver had reached the last section.
“Despite the fact that the team argued that turning off the yellow sector in the FIA maneuvering system 34 seconds before reaching the yellow flag meant that it was“ going on ”, it was the responsibility of the driver to take appropriate action when entering an area with a double yellow flag, ”said the steward’s statement.
“The driver confirmed that he was aware of the presence of car 10 on the right side of the route. After seeing a disabled car it is reasonable to expect, as in the case of the driver of Car 55 (Carlos Sainz), that there is a potential hazard and likely a yellow flag situation and therefore take appropriate action ( ie reduce the speed).
It’s a decision that wasn’t well made by Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who told Sky Sports UK he believed the flags were waved incorrectly.
“I think it’s just a rouge marshal putting out a flag and he wasn’t instructed to do so by the FIA.
“They have to be in control of their marshals, it’s that simple because that is a decisive blow in the World Cup for us.
“We are really struggling to understand because it just looks like a full ball-up from the FIA.”
Verstappen leads the championship by 14 points.