Max Verstappen expects Formula 1’s qualifying rules will remain unchanged despite calls to penalise drivers who cause red flags.Sergio Perez crashed at Portier, which meant he started ahead of his team mate Verstappen, who was on course to improve his lap time before the session came to an early end.
There have been many other recent examples of drivers benefitting from red or yellow flags they caused in qualifying sessions. Charles Leclerc took pole position in Monaco two years ago after setting the fastest time on his first run and crashing on his second. In the last round in Miami, Leclerc crashed again, meaning Verstappen was unable to complete his second run in qualifying.
Some drivers have been accused of deliberately causing yellow or red flags during qualifying to ensure they do not lose a strong grid position. In 2006 Michael Schumacher was sent to the back of the grid in Monaco after the stewards ruled he deliberately stopped his car at Rascasse in order to prevent other drivers beating his time. Eight years later Nico Rosberg stopped his car at Mirabeau during Q3, triggering yellow flags which ensured his pole position time was unbeaten, but was not penalised.
“It happens, most of the time it’s not on purpose,” said Verstappen. “But it happens in Monaco, it happens on other street circuits so you just have to deal with it.”
The Red Bull driver said “nothing has been agreed or set” on how such incidents will be dealt with if they appear suspicious. “But it has happened now a few times already that there was a red flag in the second run. I just need to make sure the first run is good.”
Other series such as IndyCar have for many years had rules which ensure drivers cannot benefit from causing a red flag. But F1 has not introduced a similar regulation and Verstappen believes the FIA is not interested in doing so.
“To basically create a red flag and then basically abort everyone else’s lap, sometimes it’s a bit painful,” he said Verstappen. “In other categories we’ve seen that when people cause a red flag, they lose their all their laps in that qualifying.
“It’s maybe something to think about but it doesn’t seem like the FIA at the moment is really thinking about that. So we’ll see. Like I said, we just need to do a good lap ourselves.”
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