Max Verstappen is expected to ignore the double yellow flags in the final Q3 qualifying round, so he will have to talk to the commissioners.
The Dutchman was preparing to attack Lewis Hamilton's fastest time in the last lap, but due to the yellow flags he had to give up for the first time in the second sector of the track, and then the lap was disturbed by Pierre Gasly's stopped car on the start-finish plane.
The Red Bull racer finished the lap by driving past several double yellow flags warning of impending danger on the track, and set only a shade better time than the previous one. Nevertheless, he was 0.455 seconds slower than Hamilton's, and for now it is not entirely clear whether the yellow flags were shown only by the judges at the track, or whether they were also officially launched in the lead of the race.
The rules around the yellow flags are very strict, and race director Michael Masi issued instructions before the start of the race weekend that racers must immediately stop the fast lap with double yellow flags.
Verstappen said after the qualifiers that he saw no debris on the track, nor did he see a yellow flag warning appearing in the form of a yellow light on the racers ’steering wheel. The same goes for Valtteri Bottas, who drove his lap behind Verstappn.
A similar offense was committed by Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix last year, and in the spirit of relations in the last few races, the boss of Mercedes, Toto Wolff, also spoke about the matter: “I saw the video. I saw him drive past the flashing lights, I think they were flashing red or yellow, then he drove past the double yellow flags and the race car standing on the track. More than obvious, it was a triple offense. They have already gone over us because of the yellow flags, so now the decision is in the hands of the Commissioners. But I wouldn’t comment on that anymore and discuss what should happen. I am convinced that the matter is already being examined by the Commissioners, who will have to decide. "
The race management automatically erased the times set in the lap when the double yellow flags were hung in the last races. This did not happen this time, in case Verstappen did commit a foul, he will be left without a quick lap and could also be penalized with a loss of starting places. Valtteri Bottas also had to be questioned for the same offense, and Carlos Sainz is “suspected” of disregarding the yellow flags.
Sebastian Vettel, for example, lost as many as five places in Bahrain this year due to a similar offense, and Verstappn's fate will be known tomorrow, at 13 pm local time or 11 am local time.