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Verstappen hit with grid penalty for Qatar Grand Prix

Verstappen hit with grid penalty for Qatar Grand Prix

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Verstappen hit with grid penalty for Qatar Grand Prix

Verstappen hit with grid penalty for Qatar Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has been handed a five-place grid penalty for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was found guilty by the stewards of not respecting double-waved yellow flags during Saturday's qualifying session at the Losail International Circuit.

Late in Q3, Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly sustained a puncture on his second hot lap, and as he limped towards the pits, the double-waved yellows were shown.

Such an incidence requires a driver to slow down significantly and be prepared to stop, yet Verstappen went on to post his quickest final sector of the session, and improved overall on his lap time from his first run.

After qualifying second, Verstappen will now drop to seventh.

A detailed stewards' report read: "The stewards note the representations of the driver and team representative for mitigation of penalty in view of the lack of display of the yellow light panels, no dash warning lights and no audio signal to the driver.

"Whilst having sympathy for this request, the stewards have taken into account the following:

1. Article 27.1 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations states that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.

2. Appendix H of the Code states that flags and lights have the same meaning (and hence a flag signal must be complied with).

3. Article 27.2 requires the driver to observe the International Sporting Code at all times. That code, in Appendix H places the onus of responsibility of complying with flag signals clearly on the driver, so notwithstanding the fact the team argued that the turning off of the yellow sector on the FIA marshalling system some 34 seconds prior to the driver reaching the yellow flag, signified that it was “play on”, it was the driver’s responsibility to take the appropriate action when entering what was a double yellow flag area.

4. The stewards examined the audio communications between the team and the driver and at no time did the team indicate to the driver the situation referred to in 3. above.

5. The driver acknowledged his awareness of the presence of Car 10 on the right side of the track. Having seen a disabled car, it is reasonable to expect, as was the case of the driver of Car 55, that there was a potential danger and that a yellow-flag situation probably existed and therefore to take the appropriate action (i.e. to reduce speed).

6. The penalty for the driver of Car 44 in Austria 2020 resulted in a grid penalty of 3 positions which is the usual penalty for breaching a single flag situation, and the penalty for the driver of Car 5 in Bahrain 2021 which resulted in a grid penalty of 5 positions which is the usual penalty for breaching a double-flag situation."

In conjunction with Valtteri Bottas' penalty for ignoring single-yellow flags, Gasly now starts on the front row alongside Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

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