The stewards have reached their verdicts into the three separate investigations into Max Verstappen after the Dutch driver’s calamitous qualifying in Singapore.
Aside from failing to make it into Q3 for the first time this year as Red Bull endured a nightmare qualifying at Marina Bay, Max Verstappen’s evening was further complicated by three separate incidents of alleged impeding.
The Dutch driver was summoned before the stewards for impeding a train of cars in the pitlane upon exit, an incident impeding AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, and a block on Williams’ Logan Sargeant.
Stewards reach verdicts into all three Max Verstappen blocking investigations
For the pitlane blocking incident, in which Verstappen had come to a halt at the green light to hold up several drivers behind him – including both Mercedes drivers and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – the stewards awarded the reigning World Champion with his first reprimand of the season.
“The Stewards heard from the driver of Max Verstappen, team representative, and reviewed positioning/marshaling system data, video, timing, and team radio,” read the ruling.
“[Verstappen] stated that he waited (approximately 14 seconds) to leave the Pit Exit in order to create a gap to the cars in front.
The team representative explained that his gap was negated by Turn 5 due to other cars slowing on the out lap, whilst the car behind [Verstappen] had increased its gap to 12 seconds.
“Whilst no obvious advantage was gained by the driver in waiting at the Pit Exit for what is deemed to be an extraordinarily long time, the potential for this to negatively impact other drivers warrants a penalty.
“Whilst it is noted that the car behind could have overtaken [Verstappen], it is preferable that cars depart the pit exit in an orderly manner.
“The stewards determine that [Verstappen] breached Article 37.5 of the Sporting Regulations and hence a penalty of a Reprimand is appropriate.”
Max Verstappen picks up two reprimands in one evening
Verstappen was immediately hit with his second reprimand of the season for his block on Yuki Tsunoda in Q2, while Red Bull were given a €5000 fine for failing to inform Verstappen of Tsunoda’s approach.
“Just prior to [Tsunoda] passing [Verstappen], [Verstappen] saw the car behind approaching and moved to the left, however quite late,” said the stewards.
“The team admitted that there was poor communication on its part and that it did not advise its driver until [Tsunoda] was alongside.
“The Stewards reviewed a number of impeding and alleged impeding incidents from this current season and consistent with previous decisions in relation to the severity of the breach, impose a penalty of a Reprimand on the driver and a fine on the Competitor.
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For his alleged block on Sargeant, the stewards chose not to hit Verstappen with any punishment, with Sargeant himself coming to the Dutch driver’s defence in the stewards’ hearing.
“[Verstappen] stated that he was surrounded by many other cars on preparation laps, some of which chose to overtake him on the left and some on the right, and therefore he decided the safest option was for him to drive straight and keep the line, leaving a car width on his right,” said the FIA ruling.
“He stated he felt any movement to the left or right could have caused a collision with one of the cars around him. The Stewards accept these statements.
“[Sargeant] stated that he did not believe that [Verstappen] was at fault and that there was room for him to pass. We therefore determine that [Verstappen] did not unnecessarily impede [Sargeant].”