Max Verstappen has been summoned to the Dutch Grand Prix stewards for an alleged potential red flag breach in FP2, an infraction that could imply a grid penalty for the Red Bull driver.
According to the stewards’ report, Verstappen is suspected of overtaking Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll while red flags were shown between Turn 10 and 11, where Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes had stopped following an engine issue.
Verstappen’s non-compliance with the red flags would be a breach of the FIA International Sporting Code and of Article 50.2 of Formula 1’s sporting regulations.
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even the tv coverage showed it quite clearly @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/NVdI7Y2Qwz
— Johan (@JL_27_) September 3, 2021
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, upon viewing onboard footage of the alleged breach by his driver, considered that Verstappen had indeed overtaken Stroll but had immediately backed off.
“Max, as soon as he heard it was a red flag, he backed right out of it,” Horner told Sky F1.
“I can only think that the other car was on a slow lap anyway. So I mean, I was watching the data, and he was completely out of it as soon as he got the message of the red flag.”
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Unfortunately, there are no grey areas in the regulations regarding a red flag infraction, regardless of Verstappen’s decision to back off after the fact.
In this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Lando Norris was faced with a split second decision under a red flag situation in Baku. Despite slowing, the McLaren driver failed to enter the pitlane, as required by the rules, and was handed a three-place grid penalty for the following race.
A grid drop for Verstappen at Zandvoort, in addition to infuriating his many local supporters, would seriously complicate the Red Bull driver’s task in Sunday’s race given the difficulties in overtaking at the Dutch track.
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