Verstappen penalised for Q1 incident

Already demoted to the back of the Sochi grid after Red Bull opted to change his entire engine, the Dutch youngster, who is 21 tomorrow, was handed an early birthday present, a drop of three more grid place and two penalty points.

Verstappen admitted seeing the yellow flag after Sergey Sirotkin spun his Williams, and stated that he steered to the left to avoid the stationary car.

However, the stewards pointed out that the regulation is very clear and states ‘it must be evident that a driver has reduced speed’, whereas the telemetry showed that the Red Bull driver maintained full throttle and did not apply any braking.

In his defence Verstappen expressed the view that he felt he had acted safely.

The Stewards noted that he 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 applied the usual penalty for the offense.

As a result, Verstappen, who was scheduled to start from 18th on the grid, will now start 20th.

In addition, the two penalty points bring his total up to seven, just five short of a race ban.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Sochi, here.