Verstappen gets two reprimands but no grid penalty

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 16: 11th placed qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing climbs from his car in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 16, 2023 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen’s worst Qualifying session of his thus far stellar season took a turn for the worse with two reprimands for impeding after a tense floodlit session today, but lucky to escape a grid drop penalty for Sunday’s 2023 Singapore Grand Prix

The Dutch ace and his Red Bull team had a rare ‘bad day at the office’ as they failed to unlock the RB19s magic this weekend in Singapore. The once unbeatable winning machine was reduced to ordinary midfield runners at Marina Bay Circuit, even Verstappen unable to make it into Q3, ironically narrowly denied by AlphaTauri rookie Liam Lawson.

But it was an uncharacteristically scrappy session for Red Bull and both their drivers, Sergio Perez included, struggling with the car. Max will start from P11 with Checom lining up in P13.

Sky F1 reports that the FIA Stewards have also now confirmed Max Verstappen was handed a second reprimand of the day for blocking AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in Q2, with his Red Bull team also been fined €5,000.

While it was expected that the soon-to-be triple F1 World Champion would receive stiffer punishment, he didn’t as he will not face a grid drop penalty for his indiscretions.He will start the race from P11 on the grid for Sunday evening’s race at Marina Bay.

FIA Stewards’ verdict on Tsunoda incident:

Just prior to Car 22 [Tsunod] passing Car 1 [Verstappen], the driver of Car 1 saw the car behind approaching and moved to the left, however quite late. The team admitted that there was poor communication on its part and that it did not advise its driver until Car 22 was alongside. The Stewards reviewed a number of impeding and alleged impeding incident from this current season and consistent with previous decisions in relation to the severity of the breach, impose a penalty of a Reprimand on the driver and a fine on the Competitor. It was noted that the representative of Car 22 chose not to attend the Hearing.

Stewards’ verdict on Sargeant incident at T17-18:

The driver of Car 1 stated that he was surrounded by many other cars on preparation laps, some of which chose to overtake him on the left and some on the right, and therefore he decided the safest option was for him to drive straight and keep the line, leaving a car width on his right. He stated he felt any movement to the left or right could have caused a collision with one of the cars around him. The Stewards accept these statements. The driver of Car 2 stated that he did not believe that the driver of Car 1 was at fault and that there was room for him to pass. We therefore determine that the driver of Car 1 did not unnecessarily impede Car 2.