Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2021

Verstappen and Bottas penalised, Gasly to start from front row in Qatar

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has been given a five-place grid penalty for the Qatar Grand Prix for failing to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags.

The stewards have also given a three-place penalty to Valtteri Bottas, who passed single waved yellow warning flags.

The stewards also cleared Carlos Sainz Jnr after investigating the Ferrari driver for a similar infraction.

Bottas was shown a single waved yellow flag as he approached the start/finish line at the end of his final flying lap in Q3, due to Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri which was stopped beside the pit wall. The stewards said the Mercedes 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 [Gasly] was stationary on the pit straight,” the stewards noted.

The penalties for Verstappen and Bottas will promote Gasly, who originally qualified fourth, to the front row of the grid for today’s race.

Red Bull requested the stewards issue a less severe penalty to Verstappen in light of the fact that, while double waved yellow flags were visible, the driver was not shown any warning lights and the team did not advise him on the situation. However the stewards noted it was Verstappen’s responsibility to react to signals on the track, and pointed out he was able to see Gasly’s stationary car.

“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 [Sainz], 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).”

Sainz avoided a penalty because, having initially failed to slow for the yellow flags, he did once he noticed Gasly’s car at the edge of the track.

“The driver stated that although he did not see the yellow flag, he did see that car 10 was stationary on the right of the pit straight and therefore assumed that there was the probability that he was in a yellow flag area, so made a significant reduction in speed in the relevant mini-sector.”

The stewards noted precedents exist for penalising infringements of double waved yellow flags more severely than single yellow flags, including Lewis Hamilton’s three-place penalty at the Red Bull Ring last year, and Sebastian Vettel’s five-place drop in Bahrain this year.

Updated: 2021 Qatar Grand Prix grid

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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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    132 comments on “Verstappen and Bottas penalised, Gasly to start from front row in Qatar”

    1. Same for Verstappen, then?

      1. Has to be more since verstappen had double yellows showing?

        1. Should, but this is F1…

          1. Ah, well there you go. Verstappen gets 5.
            I’m actually quite surprised that F1 have applied some common sense to their application of the rules this time.

      2. Poor Pierre getting relegated to the dirty side of the grid.

        1. He was already on the dirty side.

        2. I think gasly was very lucky. making a mistake and breaking his car (ok the 2nd bit was a bit unlucky, but he caused it to happen) . As a result, his actions of deciding to park his car after his mistake then resulted in this happening. Effectively his mistake and judgement has resulted in him moving up 2 places.

      3. He got it now!

    2. So single yellow – 3 positions, surely it must mean 5 places for Max and Sainz for double.

    3. And nothing for Max? Wow, this guy.

      1. The news has just dropped and title or the article changed before anyone calls me an idiot :)

      2. You wanna talk now?

        1. 5 places penalty, nothing ?
          Ah !
          well, maybe you’ve missed something …

      3. There was SOMETHING.

        1. My comment was posted before the article name and details were updated…

          1. Finally I can calm down now.

    4. Max should equally get a grid drop since got a double yellow when passing Gasly’s stationary car.

      1. @jerejj and it has now been formally confirmed that Max will receive a five place grid penalty, alongside 2 penalty points on his licence.

        It looks like Red Bull did try arguing that Max should have been let off because there was no warning light on his dash, and the FIA has replied by pointing out that the regulations state that the marshals flags are the primary warning mechanism, not the dash lights, and it is the responsibility of the driver to follow the marshal flags.

        Given that argument was made in Bahrain for Vettel, where he got a 5 place grid penalty for speeding in a double yellow zone, they’ve thus stated that they have to be consistent and impose the same penalty here as well.

    5. 5 place drop for VES just confirmed.

    6. Bottas was honest and said he didn’t notice the flags.

      Sainz will likely be honest too.

      Not sure whether I trust Verstappen to be honest or the stewards to be consistent at this juncture

      1. I am curious is he tried to get out of it or admitted fault

        1. He only said “hi” to every question.

        2. @ivan-vinitskyy the notice from the stewards does not explicitly state the exact arguments that Verstappen gave, but the document states that the stewards “…note the representations of the driver and team representative for mitigation of [the] penalty…”.

          That phrase would seem to suggest that Verstappen did therefore try to argue for mitigation of the penalty, but what exact argument he put forward is not recorded in that document.

      2. Well at least the stewards were consistent

      3. Max would be honest too but add that he was in control

        1. Or state that it should come under the umbrella of ‘let them race’.

      4. Oh come on, you don’t know this drivers in persoon, so you don’t know what they will say or wether they will be honest or not. Speculation…. Stick to facts please…

    7. Jep, entirely fair. Makes zero sense for Verstappen not to have slowed, even with the inconsistency on the flags and the screens. Self-inflicted gun shot wound this. Could be fatal for his title challenge.

      1. Having said this, struggle to understand how Sainz got away with it.

        1. Supposedly slowed done. Roger.

          1. @hahostolze still puzzles me as the last main sectors shown on f1tv are:
            Alonso: 33.176
            Vettel: 30.174
            Verstappen: 27.543
            Bottas: 27.769
            Sainz: 27.731

            And I don’t think Gasly’s car was stopped after the start/finish line, so there is definitely something strange if they saw a “significant” slowing down, compared to the onboard footage available.

      2. Final thought: if the double waived yellows were a mistake as is being suggested by Horner and Gary Anderson, this penalty makes less sense

      3. Self-inflicted gun shot wound this.

        You couldn’t be more true here @hahostolze. I didn’t understand why Verstappen improved his time under yellow flag condition.
        My understanding: it’s Max’ overall attitude, all-in or go home, no middle ground. He risked everything to try to outperform Hamilton – or stay in front of Bottas. I said before and I’ll say it again: Max Verstappen is too aggressive at times, and this time he made his life more difficult unnecessarily. This is end of the championship, he is leading the standing, he needs to pick his fights to maximize his chances.

    8. petebaldwin (@)
      21st November 2021, 12:31

      Well that’s freed up my day! Annoying they took so long to make what appeared to be a simple decision.

      1. Well they were hoping that if they slept over night that by morning it would have all gone away.
        To the shock of the stewards, viewers had not forgotten

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          21st November 2021, 12:46

          I think they just left it as late as possible to get more people to tune in today. If they announced it yesterday, lots would have made other plans for their Sunday.

          1. I don’t understand why they can’t have an allocated time window for investigations. Fixed window for after each session, with an allocated time for decisions to be released.

            1. Because FIA run more than just F1, sometime there are other series. Consider the amount of sessions, weather, circumstances in the race and it makes it very hard to find specific time slot and then stick to it.

    9. Scandalous that it took this long for the stewards to make a decision

      1. Given the length of time it’s taken for stupidly trivial decisions these days, I’m absolutely certain that the stewards are deliberately delaying making a decision so that it can be announced at a time that is more suitable for “the show”.

      2. As it is usual nowadays, it s not unexpected. What is expected is if it was ham, it would be DSQ or race ban to Let Max race on his own… Otherwise how is this guy with the superior machine all year will win this wdc despite all the decisions given to Ham make way max to win it easy. He should have been wdc with 3-4 races to spare by now! I remember one vettel in a similar situation. At the end of the season few people will come and say we said it from the beginning it is the (Mercedes) car, max had zero chance!

      3. These delays seem to be part of the ‘show’ these days… Who are we, wanting a race and not a show?!!

    10. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      21st November 2021, 12:32

      Wonder how much Netflix paid for the stretching of the decision.

      Not to mention how much they paid good ‘ol Garry….

    11. Welp, wasn’t looking like he needed any help with that rocketship but there goes the championship and any hope for an interesting race. Oh well, was fun while it lasted.

      1. I like funny jokers who jokes perfectly on the spot.

      2. Rocketpanda fakely disheartened just makes my day.

        Anyhow, implying that Hamilton “needs help” and ignoring the offense Max did, just shows the moral standards of some Max fans.

        Max, one the greatest drivers of this generation, doesn’t need this kind of fans. He deserves better.

    12. Just what Lewis didn’t need anyway

      1. Maybe, Verstappen might have had a chance of a good start taking the lead into T1, now Hamilton has to worry about Gasly who has nothing to lose plus Alonso will get a nice slipstream potentially.

    13. And they used the Ham/Austria penalty as precedence in the Decision Doc.

      1. :o) Sweet karma.

        1. They needed Alonso’s view on this :)

          1. @mysticus And Alonso in third on the grid, hmmm, should get a good tow on the clean side, could be an unexpected challenge for the lead!

          2. Soft tyre too…

    14. Championship is over. Everything to make their princes champion again. It’s just one big British family. And then people say the FIA were against Mercedes and Co. What an anti climax season finale.

      1. Championship is not over.

      2. You are right. In all my years of watching racing I’ve never seen a penalty given for ignoring yellow flags.

      3. Is there any way for racefans to ban the phrase ‘championship is over’ in these comments sections?

        1. @f1frog
          Also Mercedes was superior from the start. They had it easy phrases

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            21st November 2021, 12:50

            A few posts up you’re claiming Hamilton would be disqualified if it was him ignoring yellows and now here you are complaining about people posting ridiculous statements…..

      4. The championship might be over and yes it is anticlimactic to say the least, but this was an entirely fair decision.

        Red Bull were caught napping when they didn’t tell verst to slow down after bottas didn’t improve his time, and then Lady Luck (and some verst recklessness) bit their asses

      5. Yeah you are completely right. There is no WAY Max should have got a punishment for ignoring yellow flags, its not like it can be dangerous or anything, and it was only double waved. They are SO bias.

        1. Yeah also it is max pftt he is the safest driver on the track and has record non penalty points to show for it.

      6. Max should still finish 2nd, championship is getting closer race by race!

    15. See the stewards aren’t biased.
      Let’s just tone down the rhetoric and go racing.

      1. It seems that this weekend’s stewards are happy to be consistent with decisions made at previous grands prix. That’s good news for today: they can let them race with the boundaries of the rules. Let’s hope everyone races fair and hard and it’ll be fun to watch at least the start as it looks like we have a processional race on our hands.

      2. It took the interweb lighting a fire under their arss to go the extra mile and find precedents. That’s positive no?

    16. They are destroying the championship

      1. Yeah you are completely right. There is no WAY Max should have got a punishment for ignoring yellow flags, its not like it can be dangerous or anything, and it was only double waved. They are SO bias.

    17. Lewis is going to have to treat Gasly and Alonso like radioactive waste at the start. He might just pull over and let them into turn 1 with enough space to avoid their crash.

      Maybe this is verstappens turn to do a Brazil and blaze through the field. It would be a perfect part of the script for the season.

      1. Or maybe he will drive like it is carmageddon and get what he is due and get himself dnf.

      2. @dmw
        Alonso yes for sue. Though I don’t believe Gasly has enough personality and courage to go wheel to wheel with Hamilton. If he will be in that situation he’ll concede unless Hamilton being extra cautious thinking about the championship and doesn’t want to be involved in useless battle.

      3. DaveW ???

        sorry to break it to you. GAS will have almost zero chance to challenge Lewis into T1 unless Lewis has a botched start . Starting 2nd is a MASSIVE disadvantage here due to being offline on a greener than grass track plus no support races like F2/F3/Porsche Supercup to rubber the track in either.

        Only hope for GAS is to have a perfect launch plus Honda pu/battery dumping all its power and get off the outside line asap.

        Alonso is historically poor at T1 runs thanks to poor PU Renault battery deployment from zero and he has rubbish reaction times due to age causing.

    18. They announced no review for Brasil during principals press con. Now they announced grid penalties during drivers parade.

      This is not a sport.
      This is soap opera.

      1. Think it was Saward who pointed out that despite protocol DTS cameras were allowed into the Horner/Wolff press conference.
        So yes.

        1. They are selling F1 to the lowest common denominator, I am not sure this will result in sustained interest from said segment.

          It seems to be that Liberty are more interested in DTS than the actual sport itself. I may be exaggerating, I do believe that they are craving the drama more these days.

    19. And the guy who parked it gets front row. Just wow.

      1. As did Rosberg back in the day.

        1. hahah thats true. Some consistency there. :)

      2. He should have been investigated just for rolling past the pit entry in that condition. It was very unsafe. Now he wins after Alonso collects Hamilton in t1.

      3. Gasly, for champion! Oh wait this is a sport.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          21st November 2021, 13:06

          Sort of….

      4. Also, 2nd time in three races RB gets bitten by wanting to be the last to do a Quali run….

    20. I’d just like to thank this round’s stewards for making a logical decision in line with the published rules. Let’s hope future stewards act this way.

      1. Wow. Horner live on Sky F1 accusing the FIA of making a balls-up, calling the marshal “rogue” for waving a double-yellow for a car, still with the driver inside, stopped on track, exactly as required by the FIA International Sporting Code (Appendix H section 2.5.5 if anyone wants to look it up).

        All respect for Horner has just evaporated.

        1. After Totos finger jabbing meltdown in Brazil I feel like both dudes need to seek therapy before they both have strokes. Horner though seems like his mendacity might be his inner peace whearas Toto seems sometimes on the verge of tears when he is behaving badly.

        2. I’ve tried to understand Horner all these years, but he has a pattern of only seeing things his own way so I gave up.

          1. yup, him as well as Toto are a discredit to the sport – I just want to see the races, not all the toddler drama from these 2 surrounding it.

    21. So nothing malicious in the stewards’ decision whatsoever, and all no need to claim the FIA are favouring Verstappen. Just enjoy the brilliant title battle we are having.

      1. “People are favoriting Verstappen because they took so long and he could have been penalised before, it’s the proof that FIA is for Verstappen and …”
        No matter what happens, if someone is fan of one or the other drivers, they will see it all white or all black.

      2. In terms of the on-track action, this has possibly been the greatest season of all time in Formula 1. For off-track action, it has possibly been the worst.

        1. @f1frog I’m sure Senna-Prost was worse in terms off off-track action. Or even 2007-08 for that matter.

    22. Carlos actually slowed down and so no penalty.

    23. Lol, Horner blaming the marshal…

    24. Why the made the decision so late? If they have made the desicion yesterday or earlier maybe Red bull would have changed the engine…

      1. I’m not sure that would be a good idea, they’re not starting that far back and red bull from what I heard gains less from a new engine than merc does.

      2. More importantly, overtaking seems way more difficult in Losail than in Interlagos

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          21st November 2021, 13:07

          As someone suggested on here, the time to do it was in Brazil. Copy Hamilton and try to follow him through the field.

    25. The decisions were likely what most expected by the stewards

    26. How did this result in Bottas going to P5 rather than P6?

      1. Cause he jumps verstappen, from p3 to p6 to p5.

      2. I guess it has something to do with the order in which penalties are applied.

      3. @hahostolze because, as stated in the regulations, the process for applying the penalties is that the first driver to commit the offence has their penalty imposed, then the second driver has their penalty imposed in turn and so on.

        Because, in this case, Bottas is judged to have committed his offence first, his penalty is applied first. Verstappen would then have his penalty applied next, as he is next in the chronological order, which would then move him back behind Bottas.

      4. Simply because Verstappen has a 5 places penalty and Bottas 3. Verstappen promotes Bottas from 6th to 5th one by being moved below him. Nothing to do with the order in which the penalties are applied as others suggest. Simple maths.

      5. Update: now it has been switched

    27. Justice.

      1. Guess who’s back…I recognize you. Don’t hide.

          1. It’s the same one who said “COPE”. It’s the same one who said various ridiculous comments. It’s THAT former site member.

      2. The last time you were here, it was November or December 2020.
        The one single “anon” who knew who you were kept track of you until you stopped commenting.
        The anon ended the hunt against you when you were gone.
        Until now, you’re here and they’re all coming for you…

    28. I would just like to see a race without any steward involvement. We are having a decent season and some decent races, but the main narrative is the stewards. It feels like this is sucking the life and enjoyment out of the sport.

      Perhaps like football when the game is all about the ref something is wrong.

      1. There was a way for the stewards to not get involved. It required VER and BOT complying with Yellow Flags.

        1. No, that was not my point. Drivers must comply with the rules.

          However, there seems to be as much (if not more) discussion on the stewards and their decisions than the actual racing. Perhaps, like VAR is previous seasons, they are causing problems rather than solving them.

          1. Fair enough, and apologies for mis-interpreting your post.

      2. I think it has a lot to do with the media pouring fuel in the fire for the sake of Clic’s and fans stupidly playing along. controversy and penalty where always there, the internet not. It also feel like it has gotten worse with the ownership of liberty and their obsession with turning a sport into pure dollartainement. Just my 2 pennies :)

    29. First Tsunoda, now Gasly, Tost is going to hear it again.
      Now, why did the yellow sector lights turned off? Was it because Gasly’s car rolled off past the finishing line?
      A glitch?
      Again the focus is on race direction, no protocols seem to be in place nor order no rationale.
      Shouldn’t have happened and RB were fighting 2-1 here, they were naive, they should have stopped Verstappen from finishing the lap. The reason for the different penalties is on race direction alone because the safety concerns were the same, the situation was as dangerous when both Sainz jr and verstappen went past as when Bottas did. The offence is the same but the order that got ignored is less indicative of danger.

    30. Hand the title to Hamilton now. I was fairly certain Hamilton would take title number 8 after his dominant display in Brazil, but after this penalty for Verstappen Hamilton will take an unchallenged win today and with it will take a big chunk out of Verstappen’s lead. He’ll then take the lead of the championship for himself in Jeddah and will seal the deal in Abu Dhabi with another pair of comfortable wins.

      It’s a done deal…

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        21st November 2021, 13:10

        We’ll see – Verstappen starting on the front row next to Hamilton with nothing to lose? Hamilton’s engine being run in quali mode for 4 races straight? I don’t think it’s over just yet…

      2. And the race hasn’t even started!

      3. @geemac
        Theoretically speaking, you’re spot on but as @petebaldwin mentioned Hamilton will certainly be torpedoed by Max if he is in his sight. The bitterness and the salt in both camps driven by both Horner and Toto is stellar to the point that a sporting championship end is not imaginable for me at least. In the last race when everything will be on the line a Senna Prost ending is the more likely scenario and the championship maybe will be decided in the court rather than on the track.

        I suspect Gasly could have already received a direct order from Marko on how to race Lewis. I don’t believe that he can race Hamilton wheel to wheel but if we see him aggressive today then we can already imagine how Verstappen – who is already very aggressive – will race Hamilton in the next races.

    31. MV penalty applied first so VB went to 2nd, then VB penalty takes him to 5th.

    32. Ignoring yellow flags should be penalized. Always, including during the races, which sadly it rarely is.

      However, the stewards would have done well to also investigate Gasly who did a very poor job parking his obviously damaged car. He wouldn’t have been able to make the pit entry in time, but to park when and where he did is not what you’d expect from an experienced F1 driver.

    33. Gasly makes a quick start to take the lead, alonso crashes into lewis, max wins.

      1. Gasly would certainly like to show Red Bull their decision was wrong not to have him in the car. Alonso I don’t think is that type of driver.

        1. MB might be hoping for a similar start today as Mexico but Max in place Dan.

    34. That’s a start for Verstappen. Now he needs to be driven off track at turn one as Karma.

    35. Fair penalty, don’t forget Monza a few years back when Lewis’s race was destroyed by a ridiculous 10 second stop go penalty for entering the pits because he couldn’t see a tiny pitlane closed sign on the outside Curva Parabolica whilst driving 200+ km/h.

      Harsh for Max and other drivers but the rules are the rules and Max did not slow down enough under double waved yellows which is a sensitive issue in F1 from when when Jules Bianchi did not slow down enough when a crane was removing Adrian Sutil’s crashed car.
      It was insane that charlie didn’t bring out a safety car, Jules would be still alive today if that was the case but that’s a totally different conversation


      Slam dunk penalty for not slowing down for double yellows no ifs or buts. “Human error” is no excuse either because other drivers have been penalized for the same infractions so no amount of spin can paint wunderkind Max as a victim

    36. Listening to Brundle whining about Verstappen’s penalty and not at all about the one for Bottas. I mean…come on man, at least TRY to hide your bias.

    37. Although it probably was fair (I haven’t looked deeper into it), this probably spells the end of the championship, sadly. Only some sort of chaos can prevent Hamilton from winning now.

      1. It wouldn’t be unexpected if Max finished 2nd.

    38. Let’s be perfectly clear that Gasly’s action did not get him promoted to 2nd position. It was the actions of Bottas and Verstappen that got them moved down. Based on Horner’s comments, they seem like they went for it and then were going to argue that there should be no flags and no penalty. It was a bridge too far. F1 realized that they would be deciding the championship if they don’t penalize Max for anything for the last 4 races.

    39. So… why wasn’t Sainz penalised???

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