Max Verstappen has been summoned to the stewards ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon after potentially going through double yellow flags on his final flying lap and not aborting his lap.
After Pierre Gasly had run across the kerbs at turn fifteen and damaged his car, the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver continued onto the start and finish straight, only to stop his car on the run to the finish line.
Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen continued to attack up until the chequered flag and improved his time, even though it was still 0.455 seconds back on the best time of the session set by Lewis Hamilton.
It is unclear to whether the incident triggered a yellow sector with race control. Had it done so, Verstappen’s steering wheel would have illuminated, and he would have been forced to abandon his lap. What is clear was that the double yellow flags were being waved on track.
Should he be found guilty, Verstappen faces a grid drop penalty for Formula 1’s first-ever race at the Losail International Circuit, which would give Hamilton an extra advantage at the front of the field.
Toto Wolff, the Team Principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, says he will let the stewards make the decision rather than protesting themselves, although he believes the Dutchman is guilty of not slowing under the yellow flags.
“I’ve just seen it. I’ve seen that he is passing a flashing light, I think a flashing red or flashing yellow light on the left,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “Then he’s passing the double waved yellows and there is a standing car on the road. I guess it’s a bit of a triple whammy.
“They’ve gone after us with a yellow flag, passing a yellow flag on the outside. It’s in the stewards’ hands. I wouldn’t want to comment much more of what should happen or not happen. I think the stewards are looking at it and they need to come up with a verdict.”
Verstappen said he had no idea that there were any yellow flags coming through the final sector and does not believe he did anything wrong, something also said by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
“I heard after the session he had damaged his front wing, but from my side it was all okay,” said the Dutchman.
“Same thing I heard only afterwards, and I had no yellow flags or anything,” added Bottas.