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Verstappen and Bottas handed grid penalties at Qatar GP

  • Verstappen drops from second to seventh on Qatar grid
  • Championship chief punished for qualifying breach
  • Bottas handed three-place penalty, Sainz cleared
  • Hamilton begins on pole for Mercedes

DOHA, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Formula One stewards handed a five-place grid drop to Red Bull’s championship chief Max Verstappen at the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday in a blow to his hopes of beating title rival Lewis Hamilton within the race.

They additionally gave Hamilton’s Mercedes group mate Valtteri Bottas a three-place penalty for failing to respect warning flags in qualifying.

Verstappen, 24, had certified on the entrance row with seven- instances world champion Hamilton taking pole place for Mercedes however the Dutch driver will now begin seventh.

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AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly joins Hamilton on the entrance rowinstead,whereas Bottas drops to sixth as a result of Verstappen’s penalty.

The governing FIA initially positioned Bottas fifth however modified that on the ultimate grid.

Verstappen is 14 factors away from Hamilton with three races remaining. Defending champions Mercedes lead Red Bull by 11 factors within the constructors’ standings.

In one other stewards’ resolution, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was cleared of an alleged flag breach and no additional motion was taken. The Spaniard moved as much as fifth on the grid.

The stewards discovered that Verstappen had didn’t respect double yellow waved flags after AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly had stopped on the pit straight with a damaged entrance wing and puncture.

Verstappen additionally had two penalty factors imposed, taking his tally to 4 for a 12-month interval.

Red Bull had sought to mitigate the penalty as a result of trackside mild panels weren’t exhibiting the yellow warning, there was no in-car warning mild and no audio sign from group to the motive force.

The stewards stated they’d “sympathy” for the request however the guidelines acknowledged the motive force needed to drive the automotive unaided whereas flags and lights carried equal weight.

They identified that Hamilton had been handed a three-place drop in Austria final season for breaching a single flag warning whereas Sebastian Vettel was given a five-place penalty in Bahrain this 12 months for a double-flag offence.

“Accordingly, the stewards believe they have no option but to impose the standard penalty for a breach of the double yellow flag requirements,” an announcement stated.

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Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, enhancing by Kirsten Donovan and Ed Osmond

Formula One F1 - Qatar Grand Prix - Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar - November 20, 2021  Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton with Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas during the press conference  FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Formula One F1 - Qatar Grand Prix - Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar - November 21, 2021  Red Bull's Max Verstappen during the drivers parade REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Formula One F1 - Qatar Grand Prix - Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar - November 21, 2021 Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas during the drivers parade REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

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