Verstappen stripped of pole for yellow flag incident

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

Max Verstappen has been stripped of his Mexican GP pole position after the stewards have found him to not have slowed down enough at the scene where Valtteri Bottas had crashed.

The stewards said Verstappen “admitted that he was aware that car 77 (Valtteri Bottas) crashed and did see the car on the left hand side of the track, but was not aware of the waved yellow flag.”

“He also admitted not reducing his speed on the yellow sector,” the stewards added. Verstappen passed a single waved yellow flag.

Indeed, in the post-qualifying press conference, Verstappen said "It doesn't look like it, does it? No". He subsequently shrugged off questions asking if he was not worried about the possible safety issues that such behaviour might implicate.

“The stewards noted from the onboard images of car 33, that the waved yellow flag was clearly visible and was shown with enough notice. The previous driver (car #5, Sebastian Vettel) reduced the speed as per the regulations.”

Verstappen recorded a purple third sector, which is considered not possible if the driver would reduce speed significantly.

The Dutchman was handed a three-place grid penalty, along with two penalty points on his license. This is in line with the penalty he received at last year's Russian Grand Prix, for the same infringement.

The penalty promotes Leclerc to pole, Vettel to second place and Hamilton up into third, making for an all-Ferrari front row for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing said in a reaction that the penalty is "It is very disappointing ... but we have a really good race car so it should be a close fight".