Max Verstappen’s front-row starting position at the Qatar Grand Prix is under threat after he was summoned to the stewards for allegedly failing to slow for double-waved yellow flags at the end of qualifying.
Verstappen exited the final corner and passed double yellow flags on the left of the circuit, which are shown to indicate an accident and tell drivers to slow down.
The Dutch driver improved on that lap, which raised speculation he had not eased off the throttle. Audio from onboard footage also suggested he did not lift off the throttle as he passed the yellow flags.
The yellow flags were being displayed after Pierre Gasly suffered a front wing failure and a puncture coming out of the penultimate corner and rolled to a stop on the pit straight.
Verstappen came through moments later on his fast lap, but while the marshals were waving yellow flags, it was not clear if the light box was also displaying a yellow or if he received a warning on his steering wheel.
Verstappen had qualified behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a comfortable pole, but could drop down the grid if found guilty.
Verstappen will attend a stewards hearing on Sunday afternoon at 1.00 PM, five hours before the grand prix, before a decision is made ahead of the race.
Valtteri Bottas has also been summoned in relation to not slowing for a single-waved yellow flag. Bottas had been ahead of Verstappen on track but was shown catching up to one of the Alpine drivers, who was slowing, down the main straight.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has also been summoned. Crucially, Bottas and Sainz are both being investigated for not slowing for a single yellow flag, rather than a double like Verstappen.
Hamilton was given a three-place penalty at last year’s Austrian Grand Prix for ignoring single-waved yellow flags, but ignoring double-waved yellow flags could carry a more severe penalty.
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