Verstappen responds to Mexican GP grid penalty

Max Verstappen issued a short response after being stripped of pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen admitted he did not slow down for yellow flags triggered by Valtteri Bottas‘ crash in qualifying, earning a three-place grid penalty, which promoted Charles Leclerc to P1.

The Dutchman had already set a lap good enough for pole, before lowering his time to a circuit record, albeit doing so while passing the stricken Mercedes of Bottas.

The stewards report said evidence “clearly showed that the driver [Verstappen] attempted to set a meaningful lap time and failed to reduce his speed”.

Asked about the incident after the session, Verstappen openly admitted he did not slow down and was aware that Bottas had gone off the track.

Verstappen had argued that he had not seen where Bottas’ car had come to rest and did not notice yellow flags being waved. Reports have claimed that Bottas’ crash destroyed equipment at the marshalling post that would have sent a warning to Verstappen’s dashboard.

However the FIA report read: “The Stewards noted from the on board images of Car 33, that the waved yellow flag was clearly visible and was shown with enough notice. The previous driver (Car 5) reduced the speed significantly as per the regulations.”

Verstappen was quick to turn attention to the race, where he will look to win in Mexico for the third year on the trot.

He said: “It is very disappointing to be handed a grid penalty for the race and Ferrari will be very quick tomorrow so tyre life will be important but we have a really good race car so it should be a close fight.”