Red Horn team boss Christian Horner spoke on Saturday of an annoying decision following the announcement that Max Verstappen had lost his pole position. The Limburger starts with a grid penalty on Sunday from fourth place at the Mexican Grand Prix.
"This is very annoying because Max performed very well during qualifying," said the head of the British team. "The warning light on Max's car didn't work and only one yellow flag was waved at the last corner. That's frustrating."
Verstappen already had the fastest qualifying time when he drove at full speed on the last corner of the last lap, while Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas crashed. While other riders, such as Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, slowed down, Verstappen improved his fastest time.
During the press conference of the top three, Verstappen was asked if he had seen the yellow flag. "I knew Valtteri had fallen," he replied. He was then asked if he had slowed down. “It didn't look like that, did it?” Was his answer.
Following the press conference, more questions arose about the yellow flag, to Verstappen's obvious annoyance. "It was the last lap of qualifying. We are Formula 1 drivers, we know what we do," he said dryly.
Decision at press conference reason for investigation
It was precisely the press conference statements that led the FIA to initiate an investigation. Earlier, the motoring union had reported that there would be no punishment because Verstappen had not improved his time in the last qualifying mini-sector, so it was assumed that he braked.
Horner didn't blame his driver. "Max didn't have all the facts in a row when he was at the press conference shortly after qualifying. Sometimes you say things out of emotion. But the administrators who apply the penalties look only at the facts of the job, not what you say. press, "said the team leader.
Verstappen had to report to the stewards at 11:10 pm Dutch time, and at 28:28 it was announced that he would receive a three-seat penalty and two penalty points on his race license. As a result, he will start fourth behind Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.
"Video footage, audio recordings and telemetry evidence clearly show that the driver wanted to set a serious lap time and did not slow down," the commissioners reported. "In addition, the yellow flag was clearly visible on Verstappen's camera. Car number 5 (Vettel, ed.) For Verstappen significantly slowed its speed, as the rules dictate."
When Verstappen had to respond to the flight attendants, he admitted that he had not slowed and that he had seen Bottas hit the left side of the road.
For mobile app users: Click both to see a Verstappen video that ignores the yellow flag.
Vettel restrained himself with a yellow flag
At a press conference where Verstappen said he drove despite the yellow flag, Vettel said he braked. "On my first quick lap I made a mistake and on the second I had to step on the yellow flag. That meant I couldn't make the best time," said the German.
Leclerc was still driving to Bottas and didn't bother with the accident. "It's clear that you have to slow down with a yellow flag, everyone knows that. That's part of the basic knowledge," said Monegask, who can start from pole position on Sunday.
Verstappen has won the last two editions of the Mexican Grand Prix, starting from second place. "Tomorrow he will start in the second row, still a good place to get a good result," Horner kept his heart.
The Mexican Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 8:10 pm.
GP Mexico starting position
- 1. Charles Leclerc 1.15.024
- 2. Sebastian Vettel 1.15.170
- 3. Lewis Hamilton 1,115,262
- 4. Max Verstappen 1.14.758 (penalty on the grid)
- 5. Alexander Albon 1.15.336
- 6. Valtteri Bottas 1.15.338
- 7. Carlos Sainz 1.16.014
- 8. Lando Norris 1.16.322
- 9. Daniil Kvyat 1,116,469
- 10. Pierre Gasly 1.16.586