MEXICO CITY — Max Verstappen’s pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix is in doubt after he was summonded to the stewards to explain whether he slowed for yellow flags at the end of his fastest lap.
Verstappen was on provisional pole from his initial Q3 attempt and then improved at the end of the session, despite the fact he had to pass Bottas’ wrecked Mercedes at the final corner to do so. Bottas had crashed out moments earlier while attempting to improve on sixth position which prompted marshals to wave yellow flags through that part of the circuit.
The rules state a driver encountering yellow flags “should reduce their speed and be prepared to change direction”.
In the post-race press conference which followed, Verstappen confirmed he knew Bottas had crashed ahead of him.
When asked if he had slowed down, the Dutchman smirked and said:” It didn’t really look like it did it? No.”
Asked why he didn’t back off, Verstappen added: “It doesn’t matter does it?”
And when pushed on the potential safety concerns of continuing at full-speed under yellow flags, Verstappen added: “I think we know what we are doing. Otherwise we wouldn’t be driving an F1 car. It’s qualifying, you go for it, but like I said before if they want to delete the lap then delete the lap.”
Initially the FIA told the media they would not be investigating the incident as Verstappen had not improved in the ‘mini-sector’ — the timing loop at the end of the track.
Verstappen will visit the stewards at 16:10 local time.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who can wrap up a sixth title this weekend, was the first driver to encounter Bottas’ wrecked car and had looked set to improve on his time. His final sector was slower than on his first Q3 lap and he later said the yellow flags cost him second or third on the grid — he had to settle for fourth position behind Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Sebsatian Vettel.
This story will be updated.