Verstappen and Bottas hit with grid penalties for yellow flag rules breach


Max Verstappen has a five-place grid penalty for the Qatar GP


Verstappen and Bottas have been hit with a penalty for the Qatar Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen will start the Qatar Grand Prix from seventh on the grid after being hit with a five-place grid penalty.

The Dutchman improved his qualifying time on his last run with double-waved yellow flags covering the stranded AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly on the pit straight.

The race stewards confirmed that his time was deleted and that he was assigned two penalty points for the incident along with the grid penalty.

“The stewards heard from the driver of Car 33 (Max Verstappen), the team representative and have reviewed video, marshalling system and telemetry evidence. Double yellow flags were displayed at Flag point 16.6 after the exit from Turn 16 (however the lights system was not enabled).

“The stewards note the representations of the driver and team representative for mitigation of penalty in view of the lack of display of yellow light panels, no dash warning lights and no audio signal to the driver. Whilst having sympathy for this request, the Stewards have taken into account the following:

“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 (Carlos 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).”

The Stewards cited the decision made back in Austria 2020 in which Lewis Hamilton was penalised for not lifting for single yellow flags and the penalty for Sebastian Vettel for the same breach as Verstappen and failing to lift for double yellow flags.

“Accordingly, the Stewards believe they have no option but to impose the standard penalty for a breach of the double yellow flag requirements.”

Valtteri Bottas has also been given a three-place grid penalty for not lifting for single-waved yellow flags during qualifying.

The Finn admitted he didn’t see the yellow flags as he finished off his second lap without lifting off the throttle. He will now start from fifth on the grid.

“The stewards heard from the driver of Car 77 (Valtteri Bottas), the team representative and have reviewed video, telemetry and the marshalling system evidence,” the stewards decision read.

“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.”

Carlos Sainz, who was the third driver under investigation for a potential yellow flags rules breach has not been handed a grid penalty.

The Spaniard satisified the requirement to lift off, with the Ferrari driver losing time on the run to the line.