Max Verstappen has been handed a grid penalty and points on his license for ignoring yellow flags during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.
Sergey Sirotkin spun and tapped the wall at Turn 8 during Q1, bringing out the yellow flags with his car sitting at 90 degrees on the outside of the track. Verstappen came through the sector without lifting off the throttle, for which he was given a grid drop of three places for not slowing down, while also receiving two penalty points.
“The driver admitted seeing the yellow flag and stated that he steered to the left to avoid the stationary car (number 35),” the stewards decision read. “However, the regulation is very clear and states ‘It must be evident that a driver has reduced speed.’ The telemetry showed that the driver maintained full throttle and did not apply any braking.
“In his defense the driver expressed the view that he felt he had acted safely.
“The Stewards noted that the driver understood the error in not slowing and acknowledged that in future he will comply with the regulations. However in view of the emphasis now placed on compliance with yellow flag regulations, in the interests of safety, the Stewards have applied the usual penalty for this offense.”
The grid drop has limited impact with Verstappen already starting toward the back of the grid due to a power unit penalty, while the two penalty points bring him up to seven for the 12-month period. An automatic one-race ban is handed out if a driver reaches 12 points in that time.