July 7, 2022

Max Verstappen under investigation at Qatar Grand Prix

The end of the qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Qatar was marked by an incident suffered by Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman, at the end of his last flying lap, went a little too wide on the curbs of the penultimate turn of the Losail track, and saw his front wing shatter and shatter into pieces. Passed over his own debris, he punctured in the front right and had to finish at slow speed in the last corner and in the straight line.

After Lewis Hamilton on the track, but ahead of the majority of the other pilots, Gasly triggered a confused situation which saw the yellow flag be activated then deactivated and then reactivated again before finally disappearing one last time, despite the presence on the track of the ‘AlphaTauri damaged and in slow motion. In this sequence, several drivers arrived, including Max Verstappen, who improved his time even as he passed the car of the sister team before the timing line.

Max Verstappen walks past a double yellow flag (left) during Qatar GP qualifying

The situation raised questions and viewing footage from the Dutchman’s on-board camera revealed that a double yellow flag was waved shortly after the DRS sign on the left of the track in the straight line, without him raising the foot in reaction. No electronic display has also appeared on its steering wheel. The green signs visible on the right are apparently those to call a pilot to the weigh-in in the pits.

More than two hours and 30 minutes after the session and as the images flooded social networks in the meantime, the FIA ​​- after initially indicating that no investigation had been launched – finally announced that the stewards would be seized of this situation. However, the outcome will only take place this Sunday, since the driver and a representative of Red Bull Racing will not be summoned until tomorrow at 1 p.m. local time (i.e. 11 a.m. in France), four hours before the start of the race.

If Verstappen were found guilty of this offense, he would a priori risk a penalty of three grid places, as well as three points on his license, which is the standard sanction in recent years in this case. He had lost, for the same reason, his pole position at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix and was demoted to fourth place.

Read also: