Verstappen risks grid penalty after summons to stewards

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen could face a grid penalty after being summoned by stewards for allegedly failing to slow when warning flags were waved during his final qualifying lap at the Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday.

Max Verstappen summoned by Formula One stewards for allegedly failing to slow when warning flags were waved during his final qualifying lap at the Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday.   -  REUTERS

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen could face a grid penalty after being summoned by stewards for allegedly failing to slow when warning flags were waved during his final qualifying lap at the Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Dutch 24-year-old qualified second, with title rival Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes on pole position.

Stewards said in a statement that Verstappen and a team representative must report to them at 1300 local time on Sunday. The floodlit night race is due to start at 1700.

The yellow warning flags -- under which drivers must reduce speed significantly, and be prepared to stop -- were double waved after AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly lost his front wing and suffered a puncture, stopping on track.

Verstappen completed his final lap after Gasly's incident and improved his qualifying time.

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He leads seven-time world champion, Hamilton, by 14 points with three races remaining.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was seventh on the provisional grid, was also summoned to the stewards at 1330 local for allegedly not respecting a single-waved yellow.

Aston Martin four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel said he had slowed for yellow flags and lost out as a result.

"I don’t know if it was a single yellow or double yellow, but if there’s a car standing on the track, then it should be a double yellow. And double yellows are ‘abort the lap’ so I lifted. Maybe I was the only one," he told reporters.

The German also suggested Verstappen had been helped by the signalling.

"It’s a bit of a shame because I had the yellow flag in the last sector and then the yellow flag cleared, I guess because Max was coming," he said.

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