Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2021

Analysis: What penalties are Verstappen, Bottas and Sainz at risk of in Qatar?

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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For the second weekend in a row, the outcome of a Formula 1 qualifying session will hang in doubt overnight.

Max Verstappen, who originally qualified second on the grid, is under investigation for allegedly failing to respect yellow flags in the final minutes of qualifying. The hearing will not take place until tomorrow morning.

He is one of three drivers who could be penalised, along with Valtteri Bottas (who originally qualified third) and Carlos Sainz Jnr (seventh). But there is a potentially significant differences between the cases: Bottas and Sainz passed single waved yellow flags, Verstappen passed double waved yellow flags, which is a more serious infraction.

This is not the first time Verstappen has faced such an investigation. At the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, he was found to have not slowed sufficiently for a yellow flag at the end of Q2. He was given a three-place grid drop for the infringement, but as he was already due to start at the back of the grid due to power unit element changes, this proved immaterial.

In Mexico the following year Verstappen failed to slow for a yellow flag waved for the crashed car of Valtteri Bottas, and was stripped of pole position after a three-place grid drop. He even admitted after the session that he did not slow down in the final corner, though FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi denied the admission prompted his penalty.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019
Verstappen lost 2019 Mexico pole after yellow flag violation
Conversely, Verstappen was promoted to second on the grid just hours before the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton was demoted three places for failing to slow for yellow flags during qualifying. Red Bull successfully petitioned for a review of a prior decision by the race stewards not to penalise Hamilton, after new video footage appeared.

However all these incidents involved single waved yellow flags. They may provide better pointers towards the penalties Bottas and Sainz are likely to receive than Verstappen.

A case from last year suggests Verstappen may face a five-place grid drop if he is found to have infringed the rules. That was the penalty Lando Norris received for failing to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags during the Turkish Grand Prix.

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The stewards can use their judgement in these cases, however, and may decide a penalty is not deserved, as other relevant cases from this season show.

One of those involved Verstappen in his home grand prix in the Netherlands. Second practice was red-flagged due to Hamilton stopping on course, and Verstappen overtook Lance Stroll moments after the flag was shown. However, Verstappen was cleared of wrongdoing after the stewards ruled that he “immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red flag.”

Prior to that at the Austrian Grand Prix, eight drivers were investigated after the race for failing to slow sufficiently in a double waved yellow flag zone, caused by the final lap crash between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkönen. Six drivers were cleared, but Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin were ruled not to have slowed sufficiently, and were given 30 second time penalties after the race.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Circuit of the Americas, 2021
Gasly could profit from yellow flags he triggered
Following the Turkish Grand Prix last month, F1 changed its double waved yellow flag procedures after an incident involving Fernando Alonso. The Alpine driver, on his first lap of a wet session, set a lap time which was considerably more competitive than another driver who slowed more for the same incident. Since then drivers have had their lap times deleted if they passed through a double waved yellow flag zone during qualifying. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t receive further sanctions.

The worst-case scenario for Verstappen therefore appears to be a five-place grid penalty. Significantly, even if Bottas also gets the ‘standard’ three-place grid drop for a single yellow flag violation, that will move the Red Bull driver behind the second Mercedes, further compromising his race before it’s even started.

Ironically, if Verstappen, Bottas and Sainz all cop penalties, the driver who stands to benefit the most is the one whose accident triggered the yellow flags. That was Pierre Gasly, who could move up from fourth to third or second, either of which would be the best starting position of his career.

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RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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145 comments on “Analysis: What penalties are Verstappen, Bottas and Sainz at risk of in Qatar?”

  1. Seems like it should be a 5 for Max and 3 for the others. So that means it’ll be 5 for the others and nothing for Max.

    1. So you’re saying Max was Gasly’d this week? Take the orange glasses off. It was a racing incident.

      1. Meant this for @jerejj below

      2. @jimfromus Basically, yes.

    2. Why would it be 5 Ben? That wouldn’t be consistent with what happened in Mexico 2019. In Mexico he got only 3 place grid penalty when he didn’t saw the double yellow flags and there was also a car on the road (namely Bottas his car). So if they are consistent they should give him only a 3 place grid penalty. In this case the evidence quit more muddy because on the left you have a double yellow flag but the lights on the other side of the track was green an no blinking yellow lights on his steering wheel. If Max was watching to Gasly his car and he saw next to Gasly his car green lights then it’s very confusing to say the least!

      1. Did you not read the article?

      2. @kavu as quite clearly stated in this article and in the original article from 2019, there was only a single yellow flag being waived at that corner, not a double waived yellow flag. The three place grid penalty that Max received in that instance is therefore consistent with all of the previous examples of a driver infraction for a single yellow flag – not the double waived yellow that was being shown here.

        The FIA has also explicitly stated that not having the yellow lights on the dash light up is not an excuse for failing to follow the yellow flags; similarly, the FIA have also stated that not receiving a warning radio message does not excuse the driver from not following the flag rules.

        Both of those are defined as secondary warning systems that supplement, but do not replace or overrule, the warning flags shown by the marshal posts – as way of example, the team did not give Vettel a radio message during qualifying for the Bahrain GP earlier this year when he missed a double waived yellow flag, and the stewards stated that was no excuse for failing to slow down.

        1. @anon

          if it is the same FIA for past few races, nothing will come out of it, and they will brush it off for being too confusing. if that was ham, you know they would open up F1’s rules from 1950s to justify something most likely.

      3. Actually there was a yellow light on his steering wheel.

    3. the Stewards will review the incident after the race. ….allegedly because yellow was waved then removed for max then put back on etc…so max will essentially get off the hook..its all becoming a farce ..

      1. Having read the stewards report on the incident with Alonso telemetry showed that Alonso slowed significantly and didn’t set a meaningful lap time, max on the other hand set his best time of the entire session.

        Clear 5 place penalty in line with other decisions.

  2. I’m still disappointed by Gasly’s behavior.
    If some get penalized for yellows, so should he for (deliberately) staying on track with a damaged car.

    1. So long as a car is on the stopped somewhere on the circuit track or runoff, there will be yellows.

    2. are you whining that cars can’t be teleported in 2021?

    3. More than anything, Masi needs to explain what happened. It can be logical, GAS damaged off track, yellows thrown to assess risk from the debris, then removed as debris not an issue. Then yellows again due to GAS continuing with a slow car.
      Then look at what the drivers did, with the flags they received.
      I hope that VER is cleared, I would prefer to see him and HAM race today.

  3. It’s obvious max never got it right

  4. Peter Farrington
    20th November 2021, 20:47

    Mad Max at it yet again ! Problem is he as NO RESPECT to fellow Drivers!
    Enjoy the Penalty Horner & Marko !

  5. Max deserves pole for perseverance during the yellow, double yellow, green strobing of lights.

    1. yeah,

      1 place promotion for max!
      10 place grid drop for ham for going too fast
      10 place for bot, because why not?
      Sainz should keep his position because it is karma.

      The joke is that they will not give anyone penalties because they will say it was confusing, and noone is at fault. god forbid it was not ham, it would be instant race ban or DSQ from quali. That is a fact!

      1. Cheers, man!

      2. This comment is absurd. Sainz would be promoted for his ineffable beauty.

  6. Easy for you to say Felix but if you make the trouble to watch the onboard of Max his last lap in Q3 at F1TVPro it’s really hard to see the yellow flags. I certainly didn’t see them and i knew what to watch for beforehand. Also no yellow lights on his steering wheel and GP his race engineer also didn’t say he had to abort the lap.

    1. @kavu

      it’s really hard to see the yellow flags.

      The waved flags aren’t easy to spot but there’s a big flashing yellow panel on the left that’s hard to miss.

      1. Remember when Hamilton got a penalty for not seeing a pit closed signal because the board was to the left and the pit was on the right?

      2. Also, they’re professional drivers. They’re trained to look at marshalls’ stations since like kinderkarting.

        I’m sorry, I forgot Verstappen is so good, he skipped lower formulae altogether!

      3. The light is green, not yellow.

        1. Temne green light isn’t related to the track. It’s in the pit lane and is actually green arrows.

          1. where is the yellow light?

      4. @keithcollantine The flickering light at 0:04 is actually purple not yellow to me and the lights on the right are actually Green at 0:07 near Gasly’s car. Anyway if it is a grid penalty it can’t be more than 3 places otherwise the stewards are not consistent with the penalty he received in Mexico 2019. That was an identical situation with double yellow flags and a car on the side of the road (Bottas his car) and he only got a three place grid penalty at that race.

        1. Nope, that penalty was for not slowing under single waved yellows, this was double waved yellows. Nice try though.

      5. Which one/where was that Keith?

        Watching the playback I seem to see a blue flashing board early on on the left after the final corner, the pitlane greens which are not pertinent, and then the double waved marshal flags on the left.

        1. The marshal is actually really hard to miss on left before the grandstand.

        2. Yes, the marshal is clearly double waving yellows as he drives past. Oh dear.

      6. The lights were different color with Max when compared to Norris and Vettel

        1. @kavu that is because the marshals are responding to events on track and were providing the drivers with different information depending on where exactly Gasly was on track.

          In the case of Norris and Vettel, because Gasly was in the vicinity of those marshal posts, they were showing a yellow flag to show that drivers were meant to slow down due to a hazard in that area.

          Once Gasly passed those marshal posts, they then switched to showing a white flag to inform drivers that there was an abnormally slow car on track ahead of them, which was the signal being shown to Verstappen.

          The marshals are therefore putting out the signals that they are instructed to show in that situation – yellow flags where there is a hazard, and the white flag to show that there is a slow car up ahead when Gasly has passed them.

    2. That is no excuse. The driver’s are informed where the marshal posts are before the sessions. If Max didn’t see the stopped car if Gasly, the white flashing lights or the huge yellow flags waving then he shpuld retire from racing immediately!

    3. It was also hard for Hamilton to see the yellow screen blinkers (which has more leniency) than a flag and he still got penalized

  7. These penalties and reviews and post race crying is starting to put a bad flavour in my mouth, with 3 races left just go out and race and get on with it! It’s worse than babysitting 5 year olds the way Toto, Christian and the stewards are carrying on.

    1. The championship started 18 races ago, if the stewards were not interested in affecting the championship outcome, they should have allowed the drivers to race from the very beginning. Drivers don’t discard points they collected in the early parts of the season, neither are they rewarded with lost points penalites cost them, so what is with all this nonsense of not wanting to influence the championship.

      1. I’m a pure racing fan is all I guess…..

        1. Pure racing isn’t driving other drivers off track and not lifted when yellow flags are shown.

    2. So that everyone knows there will be consequences for breaking the rules. I would say the drivers should stop ignoring flags, they are the ones causing the investigations.

  8. 0.2 mm gaps are even harder to see than yellow flags folks… >:)

    1. Max has shown it is easier for him to see a 0.2mm increase in a gap, that spot a bigger yellow panel.
      Its all about the detail.

      1. Max should get a 5 place grid penalty. Ignoring yellow flags can cause serious accidents. Hamilton will be WDC because of this and deservedly so, because he is a clean driver, and much better than Max. Again Max shows why he is not worthy for being in F1!

        1. Clean driver lol. Yeah ok, Silverstone says hi.

        2. Haha get off the drugs dude. Verstappen should be champion by now and rightly deserved for his performance this season. Thank Pirelli, Hamilton and Bottas for his bad luck and losing a massive amount of points. Hamilton fans just can’t admit it.

    2. In case with Verstappen, it’s actually vice versa, especially for the Dutch people in the chat.

  9. As most of this season has been biased towards Verstappen, I’m expecting 3 place penalties for Bottas and Sainz and an extra second taken off Verstappens time due to the inconvinience of waving flags at him.

  10. Assuming Max does get a 5-place grid penalty and Bottas and Sainz get 3-place grid penalties each, how will the order of their penalties be decided? For example, if Verstappen’s penalty is applied first, then it would be:

    Bottas – 5th
    Verstappen – 6th
    Sainz – 9th

    If Bottas and Sainz get the penalties first, the starting order will be:

    Bottas – 4th
    Verstappen – 7th
    Sainz – 10th

    Or will they all be added simultaneously making the grid:

    Bottas – 5th
    Verstappen – 7th
    Sainz – 10th

    1. I have read here that Verstappen is the first to see stewards tomorrow & then followed by Bottas & Sainz (don´t know how they established that order). So likely his penalty or not will be decided first and thus applied first.

      1. Bottas must have being the first to supposedly commit the offence.

    2. I actually don’t think that Verstappen will get a penalty. Rather a reprimand, a fine, or, probably, 3 penalty points. He will start second tomorrow anyway.

    3. @mashiat the regulations state that, in the event multiple drivers have committed the same offence, the penalties are imposed in the order that they occurred. In other words, the first driver to commit an offence would receive their penalty first, then the second driver to commit that offence would receive their penalty next and so on.

      An example of that would be the 2009 Japanese GP, where Button, Barrichello, Alonso and Sutil all received grid penalties for speeding when yellow flags were being shown, and they applied the penalties in order of who was the first to be caught speeding through that yellow flag zone.

    4. Firstly, I think that your maths are incorrect (3-place penalty from 3rd puts you in 6th and not 5th) and secondly, the order in which the penalties are imposed does not change the result in any way.
      Assuming Max does get a 5-place grid penalty and Bottas and Sainz get 3-place grid penalties each, regardless of the order in which these are applied,, the result will always be:
      Bottas – 5th
      Verstappen – 7th
      Sainz – 10th

      1. If Max gets the penalty first, Bottas would be promoted to 2nd before getting the 3 place grid drop so he would start 5th.

        1. Hi @mashiat!

          If Max gets 5 places first, he ends up 7th and Valteri of promotes to 2nd. Then Valteri gets 3 places and ends up 5th. That’s 5th and 7th.

          If Valteri gets 3 places first, he ends up 6th and when Max gets 5 places he ends up 7 to and promotes Valteri to 5th.
          That 5th and 7th again.


      2. Moreover, Max would be demoted to 7th, but Sainz (who would be promoted to 6th) would fall to 9th gifting Max one place.

  11. Based on the onboard footage I saw, there were green lights on the panels on the right. What happens if there are two different flags (yellow and green) flashing at the same time? Given the car was stricken to the right-hand side, I would expect every driver (not just Max) to have been focused more on the right-hand side than the left side of their vision. If the regulations state you must slow down if there are yellow flags regardless of what other flags might be flashing, then it’s a slam dunk penalty.

    1. I’ve had a look and done some extra research and those green lights are in the pit lane and not related to the track at all. They are actually green flashing arrows. There’s a video from earlier in the weekend with Norris entering the pit lane and you can clearly see the lights are positioned off the right hand side of the pole (into the pit lane) and the pole itself is positioned away from the track and there’s also the barrier in between the light box and track. I don’t see how any driver can cry confusion over those when they’ve been in the pit lane 10’s of times this weekend.

      1. Seems like a slam dunk penalty. What frustrates me is that it was unnecessary. I was literally telling Max (through the TV) to just abort the lap. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. I blame Red Bull more since they would have had the information that Max was never going to top Hamilton’s time, which Max would not have had.

        1. Agreed, nothing to gain once Hamilton broke the 81 second mark.

  12. I only saw Verstappen onboard, so what I don´t get is why there was a single yellow flag when Bottas and Sainz were passing Gasly´s car, and the double-yellow was only waved later to Verstappen.

    Either way, it looks like Red Bull mistake. Verstappen was behind Bottas on the track and RB could see the times that they needed to beat (and what Verstappen was up/down on them) and order to abort the lap once approaching Gasly´s car.

  13. Max won’t be penalized. Red Bull owns Masi.

    1. Yep, the reason given will be because the warning system was going yellow, green, yellow etc there was enough confusion to warrant not giving penalties, even though the system was probably doing the hokey cokey for the reason given by Vettel.

    2. Max will get his punishment and losing the WDC because of this. Good for him!

  14. Max ain’t going to escape this after last week’s entertainment. Even Masi’s not that daft.

    1. But this is Fickle Masi we’re talking about.

      Confidently predict no penalty for Verstappen and some kind of penalty for Bottas and Sainz

      1. That would be more than outrageous given Verstappen’s is the more serious offence (double yellows vs single yellows).

  15. It seems like race control put up yellow for Bottas to prevent him improving and then tried to go green for Max to let him get ahead of Hamilton but inadvertently put up double yellow before green. Do they have to toggle through the colors to get back to green?

    1. This correlates with what Vettel was mentioning somewhere.

    2. that’s nonsense, honestly.

      There’s a marshal for every flag and light post, so even if there was some miscommunication, drivers have to pay attention to the last marshal station they come in contact with.

      Double waved yellow dude was right in front of the obstruction on track, he was waving two yellows when Verstappen arrived at the scene.

      Marshal in charge of the earlier light post control saw a stricken car pass but his section of track was not obstructed, so he pushed the buttons to go from yellow to green.

      Person in charge of pit lane entrance had no reason to change his signal from “open pit lane”.

      1. Then according to what you say Max must get a penalty. But this is the rbFIA championship now I can see them excusing it

        Can’t believe this sport has become so tainted that the FIA can’t be trusted to stick to the rules

  16. Max will be promoted to pole position as an example of his bravery to ignore double waved yellows. As you know now, different stewards can give different verdicts.

  17. Can Max get a new engine fitted before the race, if he gets this penalty? Or it would be too late?
    I do no understand what are they waiting for with installing a new ICE, as his engines are quite used by now. Yes I have read that the Honda’s power drops less by mileage, or it is said to be true currently, and the new engine would bring less difference in terms of power. But I do not really believe that they want to pull off the remaining 3 races with this dairly old engine pool.

    Ideally he should have taken the new ICE at the previous race, or when Hamilton also takes one. The other thing I can imagine, that they expected bagging a good score (finishing ahead of Hamilton) at Brazil, which was fairly considerable by most of us before we have seen the pace of Hamilton and his Mercedes with the new engine at the sprint and the GP (and here at Qatar as well). So I think they still need a new engine to be safe with the reliability or to have a bit more power, unless they are very certain with their reliability.

    But now they are somewhat trapped or in check by the opposition’s recent form. Anyway, the Honda’s reliability is much better than I expected before the season, and during the season as well, they created some very realiable engine, especially if they dare to pull off the remaining races with the current engine pool, it is already something next
    level. Similarly hats off to McLaren, for beating their engine supplier Renault previously, and then doing well at this season despite of having to retrofit the car with another marque of engine.

    Probably RB will install a new engine for Max for this race, or they are waiting and maybe at the next one if Mercedes chooses at add one more for Hamilton as well.

    1. dairly -> fairly

    2. Interesting point about Brazil but going 318 in the traps he would have had a tough time getting past some midfielders much less bottas. He can’t give up and 2nd places now though. As you say Mercedes have stolen a March with the Brazil ice change. Now with a grid penalty if he finishes say 3rd tomorrow he will have to win out. Whereas a few hours ago it was Hamilton who really had to win out.

      1. He is not going to get a penalty man, for the sake of the championship. FIA have made it clear they will apply the rules as they please and depending on whether they like the driver or not aka how bad they want max to win..

        This is another slam dunk penalty that he is going to escape

    3. If anything, his poor qualifying gives them the chance to change Perez’s engine.

    4. Jockey Ewing, if Max were to change his engine now, it would require him to start from the pit lane – considering this circuit is expected to be one of the trickier circuits to overtake at, I suspect Red Bull’s attitude will be that the cost of the penalty is unlikely to be worth the benefits.

  18. Lol, last thing our great title fight need is for slower car to be burdened with penalties.

  19. What if they deleted Max’s time?

  20. Missing in tbe analysis is that Bottas escaped a penalty in Monza 2019 when he failed to slow for a red flag, because it wasn’t yet registered in the messaging system. He even got to keep his time.

    Apparently the messaging system this qualifying session never registered a double yellow flag and even the yellow appears only to have been registered after the drivers crossed the finish line as nothing was shown on their dash or panels (which supersedes flags at a night race, i read)

    1. What kind of flags show up and their dash panels.
      And are drivers only supposed to look at their dash panels when negotiating the track

    2. @silfen no, the FIA’s regulations explicitly state that if there is any discrepancy between what is displayed on a driver’s dashboard and what is being displayed on the track, then the trackside flags and lights take precedence. It is therefore explicit in the rules that the lights on the driver’s dashboard are always a secondary warning system that supplements, but never replaces, the role of the marshals.

      The warning lights on the dashboard are controlled by race control – however, the marshals are empowered, and in fact encouraged, to waive a yellow flag immediately if there is something wrong on track, given they are directly observing events, and do not need to rely on race control telling them what to do.

  21. My god, looking at the reaction of some (a lot) this forum really has it in for max.
    Lots of sentiment and little knowledge rule the topic.
    I guess seeing your favorite driver not on the top spot brings out the worst in many.

    1. This place is full of Hammy sycophants.

    2. What gets me in all of this is the lack of respect for the marshal’s. Their flags take precedence over everything, only they can see what is happening on track right at that moment in time. The lights are just an additional aid.

      Every racing driver in any category is taught this from the very beginning, the safety of the Marshal’s life depend on this.

      Whether this affects the championship is irrelevant, if MV has passed a double waved yellow and not backed off, its a 5 place grid drop. End of.

    3. Put your cards on the table – should Verstappen be penalised for ignoring double yellows? Yes or no?

  22. Nobody should get a penalty. It literally flashed yellow, green, yellow, green, yellow, which was confusing enough on TV, let alone going 180 mph.

    1. I think someone waving two big yellow flags opposite a stopped car might of been a give away something was up…

      1. His car wasn’t stopped until very late. Pay attention next time

        1. Alonso saw it right away and lifted.
          Keep your excuses to yourself.

          1. As did Vettel. If Bottas, Sainz and Verstappen escape punishment for not slowing, you can expect a big stink from the other teams.

        2. The car had stopped by the time Max arrived hence the Double waved yellow. When Bottas and Sainz passed him he was still moving hence the Single waved yellow flag..

  23. Why do stewards decisions now take so long for very simple cases. Do they also have to talk with their parents?

    1. And relatives too!

      1. They need to talk to their bosses – Red Bull.

    2. Organising untraceable money transfers to the Cayman Islands takes time don’t you know ;-)

  24. The Max lap time will be deleted, Masi will say there was confusion among the marshals, Max will be reprimanded and will retain second on the grid based on his earlier lap.
    Bottas and Sainz will get grid drops lol

  25. Can clearly see the double waved yellows in the video and he made no attempt to slow down – that’s a slam dunk for a penalty.

    1. Slam dunk penalty for the marshal for impeding Max! Different stewards can give different verdicts.

  26. I used to really enjoy the comments section on this site as the users who posted were all knowledgeable fans of the sport and their was healthy debate but it’s seemingly turned into F1 twitter recently with some really bizarre comments and sniping at each other

    1. Wanted to post something similar. These comment sections just aren’t fun anymore. The negativity is just unreal..

    2. Exactly my thoughts. The comment section was used to be so good. Now, it’s gone to some attack and defend mode rather than discussions.

  27. Just cancel all the second lap times for the three; and the first times stand. FIA really wanted to wave yellow flags just for BOT and remove it for VER. They couldn’t do it properly. Thankfully, even with the first run, VER was second and BOT was third.

    So, just reprimand for all three; and FIA apologizes to VER for messing up his lap by showing yellow & green; ~~ if not for that, he could have been on pole ~~.

  28. Can you imagine if Hamilton had started his run with the other late runners only to be caught up in double yellows, they would for sure have thrown the book at him, so why not at Verstappen??

    After last week’s debacle, the stewards will have to bow to public preasure, not Redbull preassure.

    1. I think because FOM is influencing the FIA and they have made it clear including a verbal quote from the crowd that it’s best for f1 for max to win… they will not bow to public pressure. The whole thing has gone full bent.

      Will be truly amazed if Max gets a penalty. Truly. I don’t even hate the guy he is just pushing the limits cause he knows he’s going to get away with it

  29. Rules are Rules.

  30. Pretty sure none of them are at risk of penalties given Verstappen is one of the drivers involved.

  31. The Expected Verdict from the world’s greatest governing body of motorsports:

    No penalty for Max

  32. The Expected Verdict II from the world’s greatest governing body of motorsports:

    Stewards gave the flag man and race director 20 place grid penalty for waving the flags at Max

  33. will sainz get a penalty , because he slowed down also when the flag was shown to him?

    1. Verstappen, Bottas, Sainz and Norris all did a 27″-ish last sector, while Alonso did a 33″. That sums it up I guess.

  34. Whether penalty or no penalty, Max is going to win the race (why not him if Lewis could @ Brazil) and championship.

  35. Funny how it’s the alpha Tauris that are messing up redbull the most. First tsunoda giving Hamilton a good tow in the US, distracting Perez by going off the track in Mexico quali, and now gasly stopping on the home straight right as verstappen is on his flying lap

    As for the penalty too verst.. time deletion and 3 grid drop. But given that bottas and sainz face a grid drop too, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more than 3 for verst

  36. Tbh, probably like many others, I’m quite looking forward to hearing what creativity the FIA will employ to get Verstappen out of this one.

    1. Wow, fair play stewards.

  37. (Though it’ll probably be something quite dumb like “poor Max couldn’t tell the difference between double waving flags on his side of the track and green light boards inside the pit lane, so he did nothing wrong”)

  38. Vera Slapem, Penalty? Dream on!

  39. Biggest inside job ever.

  40. I have a strange feeling that nothing will happen. It’s 1:33 pm in Doha now.

  41. There’ll be no penalty, precedent was set for Alonso in Turkey so they will just delete laptimes, is Max’s other Q3 time good enough for second place or will he get 3rd which is probably better for him?

    1. But the clarification still says an attempt must be made to slow down – it was just about abandoning the lap. Clearly, the offenders didn’t.

      “Any driver passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector must reduce speed significantly and be prepared to change direction or stop,” drivers have been told. “In order for the stewards to be satisfied that any such driver has complied with these requirements it must be clear that he has not attempted to set a meaningful lap time, for practical purposes any driver in a double yellow sector will have that lap time deleted.”

      The instruction that the driver “should abandon the lap” has been removed.

    2. Yes, verstappen’s other time is plenty for p2, I thought he should slow immediately seeing as hamilton was uncatchable, after being informed bottas didn’t improve his time in his last q3 run.

    3. Actually I’ve read another article about this and it is contradictory, so we shall see.

  42. Well it is now 14:16 in Qatar. No decision yet.

    1. Michael Murdock
      21st November 2021, 11:42

      Me thinks max is colour blind.

    2. Apparently they weren’t meeting Saintz until 1045 hrs (GMT) – could easily have overrun, then they’ll be considering their verdict etc

  43. Toto’s sticking the knife in. Him and Horner have a more hostile relationship than Kane and Abel. LOL

    Here’s his quote;-

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has given his take on Max Verstappen’s alleged qualifying transgression at the Qatar Grand Prix, describing the situation as a “triple whammy”.

    Verstappen will be paying a visit to the stewards for allegedly failing to slow for double waved yellow flags, which came out at the end of Q3 for Pierre Gasly’s stricken Alpha Tauri, which had picked up a puncture.

    The Dutchman improved on his final flying lap to secure second on the grid for Sunday’s race, splitting Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

    “It’s a bit of a triple whammy”
    Wolff was asked for his view on the situation after qualifying, making reference to the light panels, waved yellow flags and Gasly’s car.

    He also pointed to last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, where Hamilton initially went unpunished for a yellow flag breach, before Red Bull submitted video footage to the stewards to prove that he had driven past a signal and failed to slow sufficiently, resulting in a grid penalty.

    “I’ve just seen it,” Wolff said of the Verstappen incident, in conversation with media, including

    “I think [it was] a flashing yellow light on the left, and then these passing the double waved yellow, and there is a standing car on the road, so I guess it’s a bit of a triple whammy.

    “They’ve [Red Bull] gone after us with a yellow flag with [Alex] Albon, I believe it was – [for] passing a yellow flag on the outside.”

    1. He also pointed to last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, where Hamilton initially went unpunished for a yellow flag breach, before Red Bull submitted video footage to the stewards to prove that he had driven past a signal and failed to slow sufficiently, resulting in a grid penalty.

      @banbrorace That’s the kernel of the issue, right? Red Bull have never wasted time protesting any perceived infringement, regularly beavering away to get extra penalties. They always want the harshest possible application of any ruling. Failing to slow for double yellows is a safety issue, so it’s not just a question of deleting the lap time, it should be a penalty for risking lives on track. Basic really. I’m sure the delay is over how to spin the non-penalty though. Maybe they’ll have to give up and issue one anyway.

      1. Yep! The vindictive tone of Wolfe is quite amazing. But clearly Horner has simply poked the bear the a bit too much recently!!

        All Horner has done in the last few weeks is actually bring out the ruthless side of Wolfe, which in turn has clearly galvanised the Mercedes team – who now have an almost frightening ‘over our dead body attitude’ to beating RB to both titles.

        I’ve always admired all the team bosses, but never Horner. He lacks humility. That’s not to say that the rest are always displaying that, but he never does.

  44. With just under 2 hours until the start I guess the stewards want to keep the suspense going.


    Really not clear what is going to happen here, however, Verstappen clearly set a “meaningful” time and he doesn’t appear to slow at all for the yellows so you’d assume some kind of grid penalty, 3 or 5 places is probably correct.

    1. @davidjwest It’s the norm now though. After a week of discussion over MV being allowed to sweep 5 car widths wide to block another driver, I went back to the Albon-Hamilton Interlagos incident and it was, well, just unreal by comparison. Hamilton drives around the corner at a steady speed, hugging the kerb all the time, Albon turns into him, despite having metres of track still available to make a pass easily and safely, and Hamilton gets the penalty! It’s beyond absurd but it involved Red Bull and whatever they have going for them with FIA clearly works wonders. I expect nothing else now.

  46. 3 place grid drop for Valtteri.

    1. The driver admitted he did not notice the yellow flag displayed at Flag Point 16.6 and
      conceded that he did not reduce speed as required in the yellow flag area despite
      noting that Car 10 was stationary on the pit straight.

    2. Must mean 5 for Verstappen the surely?

  47. 5 place grid drop for Verstappen confirmed.

    1. Some comments were that the electronics were not in sync with the flags. That has now been resolved.

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