Verstappen escapes punishment after red flag investigation

Max Verstappen has escaped punishment for overtaking Lance Stroll under red flags during FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix.

A technical issue caused Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to stop on track while Verstappen was on a quick timed lap, with the Red Bull driver passing the slow car and a number of others who were not on timed efforts. The last one of those was Stroll, who had moved off the racing line to allow Verstappen to pass but then the red flag came out to recover Hamilton’s car, with Verstappen passing the Aston Martin as he slowed.

The stewards summoned Verstappen on Saturday morning to discuss the incident and deemed he acted as safely as possible in response to the red flag given the situation.

“The Race Management System indicates that the red flag and red lights were initiated at 15:10:12. When Verstappen passed Light Panel 14 (which is prior to the point of the overtake) it was not illuminated,” the stewards’ decision explained. “As Verstappen approached the rear of the car (within a few meters) of Stroll, the red light on Verstappen’s steering wheel activated. At this point Verstappen’s speed was 260 km/h and STR’s was 110km/h, a delta of 150 km/h.

“At this point, telemetry shows that Verstappen immediately lifted and braked. Because of the speed delta, Verstappen’s momentum carried him past Stroll. Simultaneously the Light Panel 15 (showing red) became visible to Verstappen. At approximately 15:10:17 the team radioed Verstappen ‘Red Flag’.

“It is our conclusion that the driver of Car 33 took every reasonable action to comply with the regulations in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red flag, even before a red flag or red light panel was visible to him, and that this satisfies the requirements of the (International Sporting Code).”

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