Hamilton critical of Verstappen ignoring yellow flags

Lewis Hamilton was critical of Max Verstappen‘s conduct after the Red Bull driver admitted ignoring yellow flags during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen was stripped of pole position, as a three-place grid penalty dropped him to fourth on the grid, with Hamilton inheriting third behind Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel on a now all-Ferrari front row.

Yellow flags had been waved after Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas crashed at the final corner of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and the investigation into the incident seemed to be triggered more by comments made by Verstappen in a press conference than his actions on-track.

With incidents of serious injury in his mind, Hamilton said a similar scenario could have played out had Verstappen not been more lucky.

Speaking before Verstappen’s punishment was confirmed: “I think it’s very important that the FIA are very, very strict with the double yellow flags.

“We’ve seen experiences in the past – I remember like Monaco, for example, where you see the GP2 driver [Pastor Maldonado in a 2005 Renault World Series race] take out a marshal, a volunteer who puts their lives on the line to make sure the driver is safe on the road.

“If you’ve got people who are just being careless and not abiding by the rules… He actually didn’t even need to stay flat out. He’d already got pole, basically. I think the FIA need to be very, very strict on that.

“I don’t know what else to say it but luckily there were no marshals on the track. For all he knew Valtteri could have been in the middle of the circuit and the marshals could have been there. That’s what a double yellow flag generally means, it could be a massive incident ahead. So the fact that he ignored it means is not great, but it’s done

“Hopefully the right calls are made and put in place. The drivers need to know to respect those things.

“It doesn’t matter where the yellow is. You can see double yellow flags waving in general but I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse I mean, the fact is he said he saw it. So he saw the flags and then decided not to react to it.”