Max Verstappen escaped punishment at three post-qualifying hearings; Starts P11 at Singapore GP

Lawrence EdmondsonF1 EditorSep 16, 2023, 01:19 PM ET3 minutes of reading

SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen escaped a grid penalty at the Singapore Grand Prix despite being reprimanded for two separate incidents in qualifying.

The Red Bull driver was subject to three stewards’ investigations after qualifying, but none received a penalty.

The championship leader will start the grid on 11th and faces an uphill battle to extend his record winning streak to 11 on Sunday.

The first incident occurred in Q1, when Verstappen left the pit lane slowly, catching several cars behind him in the final minutes of the session.

The 25-year-old was reprimanded only because stewards believed he was not negatively affecting the cars behind him.

“The driver said he was waiting [approximately 14 seconds] „He had to leave the pit exit to create a gap for the cars in front,” the stewards report said. Car 1 [Verstappen] It increased its interval to 12 seconds.

„Although there is no obvious advantage to the driver in waiting at the pit exit, which is considered an unusually long time, it is penalized for the potential to negatively affect other drivers. Whereas the following car may be. It is worth noting that when overtaking car 1, it is preferable for cars to depart the pit exit in an orderly manner.”

Max Verstappen was forced out in Q2 by reserve driver Liam Lawson and will start P11 on Sunday.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The second incident occurred at the end of Q1, when Logan Sergeant came on a hot lap while Verstappen was preparing to take his lap in a group of cars in the final few corners.

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Verstappen appeared to be driving across the sergeant line, but the stewards concluded it did not impact the Williams driver’s lap.

„The driver of Car 1 said he was surrounded by several cars on the preparation lap, some of which chose to overtake him on the left and some on the right, so he decided the safest option was to drive straight across the line, leaving a car width to his right,” Stewards said.

„He said that any movement to the left or right could have caused a collision with any of the cars around him. These reports are accepted by the stewards.

„The driver of Car 2 stated that he did not believe the driver of Car 1 was at fault and that he had room to pass. We therefore conclude that the driver of Car 1 did not unduly obstruct Car 2.”

Third occurred when Verstappen held off Yuki Tsunoda while the AlphaTauri driver was on a fast lap.

The stewards also criticized AlphaTauri, owned by Red Bull, for not sending a team representative to fight the case for the harsh stewardship ruling.

„Just before car 22 passed car 1, the driver of car 1 saw the car behind him and swerved to the left, although it was too late. The team admitted there was poor communication on its part and did not advise its driver until then. Car 22 was on the side.

„The stewards have reviewed a number of alleged obstruction and obstruction incidents from the current season and, in line with previous decisions regarding the seriousness of the offence, will issue a reprimand to the driver and a penalty to the competitor.

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„It is noteworthy that the representative of Car 22 did not want to attend the hearing.”

Although the reprimands did not change Verstappen’s grid position in Singapore, a third reprimand in one of the remaining races this year could result in a ten-place grid penalty at the next race.

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