Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Pole winner Verstappen under investigation for yellow flag infringement

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen could lose his pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix as the stewards are investigating whether he failed to slow sufficiently for yellow flags following Valtteri Bottas’s crash.

The Red Bull driver passed waved yellow flags at the scenes of Bottas’s crash at turn 17, then improved his lap time from 1’14.910 to 1’14.758.

The stewards have summoned him for an “alleged breach of Appendix H, Article b of the FIA International Sporting Code, failure to slow for yellow flags in turn 17 at 14:00.”

Verstappen admitted in the post-race press conference he did not back off after seeing the yellow flag. “It didn’t really look like it did it?” he replied when asked if he had lifted, adding: “No.”

Bottas was running ahead of three drivers when he crashed, one of which was Verstappen. The other two were Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton appeared to pass the crash scene before the yellow flags were displayed, and Vettel noticeably reduced his speed.

Last year Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty at the Russian Grand Prix when the stewards found he did not slow sufficiently for yellow flags when Sergey Sirotkin crashed in Q2.

This was one of 11 occasions when a driver has been investigated for speeding under yellow flags in the past four seasons. Of those, four resulted in three-place grid drops, four resulted in five-place grid drops, and three led to no action being taken.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Pole winner Verstappen under investigation for yellow flag infringement”

  1. So first they say to Philip Horton they’ve seen Max slow down sufficiently but now they put him under investigation.

    That’s great communication

    1. Interesting, right. A repeat of last race where they mentioned not investigating Leclerc for hitting Verstappen, but then reconsidered. I wonder what “new evidence” they suddenly found this time.

      1. I just saw a graph on Twitter with the telemetry of the lap and Max seems to lift on it.
        But I’m not sure if it’s accurate

        1. Just see the onboard m8, he is full throttle all the time and his car also oversteers of power and correcting it.
          This is not SAFE way to pass from double yellows.

          1. no double flags only 1 flag…

  2. Seriously what took them so long? What were they doing these past almost 2 hours?

    1. @carbon_fibre There was a Porsche Supercup race so maybe they were busy with that.

    2. Re-rolling D20 dice, till they have a “critical” hit.

      1. I tell you – can take ages!

        1. We’re everywhere.. Just out of sight 😁

  3. Max never does anything wrong.

  4. This very much reminds me of the curious case of Nico Rosberg in Hungary back in 2016 when he similarly faced an investigation to check if he had heeded for double-yellows on his pole-lap. After he got cleared, the outrage was quite funny but unnecessarily big. I’m looking forward to seeing what would the reaction be like this time if Max gets cleared.

  5. It must be a slam dunk penalty. Its clear he didn’t even bother lifting, when there were some obvious yellow flags waived. I can recall Massa getting a 5 place drop for that(during FP3 in Spa 2017) ,Kimi getting a drive through for the same infringement during that race, Ericsson getting a five place drop, for a infringement during the qualy of China 2018, and Max getting a penalty in Russia 2018. There is a pattern regarding yellow flags, so i expect Verstappen to start 5th or 6th

    1. @miltosgreekfan Kimi got a ten-second stop-and-go, and yes, Max got a grid-penalty in Russia last season. It was for exceeding PU-element allocations, though, and thus, a massive one, but I don’t recall him getting a separate one for anything to do with yellow flags on the same weekend — the other ones you brought up yes, but not that one.

      1. @jerejj If im not mistaken, he got a penalty for ignoring the yellows caused by Sirotkin, but since he had all those PU related penalties, it got forgotten

  6. Poor form from Max and poor form from FIA as always.

  7. Cancelling the lap isn’t enough whether there’s a yellow flag or not he can see the accident ahead.

    Compared to some cases I think this is worse, it’s a fast corner and he’s accelerating when there’s an accident on the outside of the corner.

    3 place drop would be normal, I think this is probably a 5 place drop.

  8. Immediately after crossing the line and being told he’s got pole, all he did was celebrate. Complete disregard for other driver, who had crashed just in front of him. I’m finding it hard to appreciate the speed and skill of Max when his ego is this big.

  9. Grid penalty is the way to go. Vettel lifted completely as soon as he saw the yellow flag, Max did nothing. If he was let free without any consequence for that, that sets a bad precedent.

    1. Vettel had to lift or he would likely have hit Bottas…

      1. How do you figure that one out? Would Bottas’ car suddenly teleported itself into the path of Vettel?

  10. Well that should be a slam- dunk penalty. So dreadfully unnecessary as all in front had slowed down and he was on pole with the first lap anyway! I don’t get it…

  11. Also, given the extent of the damage to the barrier and the precarious spot bottas ended up in, should the session not have been immediately red flagged?

  12. He posted the fastest lap of the day for all drivers during the yellow. If he really lifted during the yellow, his time would have been 1’13. Stewards might buy it, but no one with any intelligence believes he lifted until he crossed the finish line.

  13. Well, FIA already embarrass themselves for taking it so long (an obvious three-place grid penalty for Max). But maybe today’s stewards have got the same miraculous drink that must have been given to the stewards of Japanese GP?!

  14. Funny how Horner immediately went on the defensive in the post-quali reaction with Ted Kravitz, saying “there weren’t any yellow flags”. Then we’re given Max’s onboard footage clearly showing the yellows being waved.


  15. We can all see what the FIA was trying to do until Max spoke at the press conference.. I actually thank Max for exposing the FIA

  16. He is penalized, he will start 4th

  17. Wouldn’t surprise me if he took a 3-5 place grid drop… would be a shame because he fully deserves pole, but if he didn’t lift for that (and from the onboard, I don’t think he did – he just took a slightly narrower line) it’d be very hard for them to let him off.

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