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Formula 1

Verstappen among six F1 drivers summoned to Mexico stewards

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are among those who will visit the Mexican Grand Prix stewards after qualifying.

Verstappen, Alonso and Russell caused big queues at the end of the pitlane before joining the track for their final runs in Q1 in Mexico.

Verstappen did not seem to quite come to a complete stop but was barely moving, even beyond the white line denoting the pit exit, as he looked to make a gap to the cars in front.

"I don't think I did anything weird or wrong," said Verstappen when asked about the incident post-session.

Alonso did a similar thing, although he seemed to stop entirely – doing so just before the white line.

The next car in the queue that Alonso caused was Russell, who has also been summoned. He moved forward slightly, crossing the white line in doing so, before waiting several seconds then pulling away.

When he did, the cars behind all left the pitlane normally.

"When everybody comes out of the pits at the same point, it’s difficult to take a gap," said Russell.

"They ask us not to stop in the pitlane. But if you don’t make a gap in the pitlane, you have to make it on track and it’s quite dangerous if you’re doing 10km/h down the straight when cars are doing 330km/h on their push laps.

"We’ll go to the stewards and see what they say."

How the stewards handle this will be an interesting test case given Verstappen escaped a three-place grid drop for impeding when he blocked cars in the pitlane in Singapore.

At the time, the stewards said no obvious advantage was gained for waiting – as Verstappen was deemed to have been negated by catching cars going so slowly on their outlaps anyway – but “the potential for this to negatively impact other drivers warrants a penalty”.

Verstappen was only given a reprimand, though, rather than a grid drop. And the onus is not on other drivers to overtake a car stopped at the pit entry like this because, according to the stewards “it is preferable that cars depart the pit exit in an orderly manner”.

A week later the FIA admitted that Verstappen had got away without a penalty in Singapore but this related to another impeding incident in the session, not stopping at the pitlane exit. So presumably any precedent, should the stewards decide to follow one, will be that making a gap in this way is permitted.   

There are other investigations from this session too. Russell, Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu were noted for exceeding the maximum delta time while Lewis Hamilton and Logan Sargeant are being investigated for failing to slow under yellow flags and Sargeant and Yuki Tsunoda will be investigated after the session for overtaking under yellow flags.

Hamilton felt he had responded sufficiently to the yellows, which were for Alonso's late Q1 spin out of the first complex of corners.

"I went slower through Turn 2 and when I went through Turn 3 the yellow light went off, but I was two tenths down," he said. "I think I was faster on the sector, so…"

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