There was a dangerous incident during Q3 between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris where the British driver was forced off the road at around 200 mph. The matter was referred by race control to the stewards who took some time to deliberate on that matter.
Verstappen was approaching the final chicane and moving relatively slowly about to start his push lap. Norris some way behind the Red Bull was also on an outlap but chose to travel through 130R at top speed before he arrived at the chicane.
The Dutchman accelerated his car which then twitched into the path of the McLaren driver sending him two wheels onto the grass at high speed.
Button says Max should be punished
The FIA rule governing this kind of driving is covered under Article 3.4: “At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”
Jenson Button was asked by Sky F1, which if any of these rules had Verstappen broken. He smiled and replied, “all three”.
Clearly a slam dunk penalty in the mound of the British F1’s champion and a grid drop penalty.
“Clearly he was going too slow on the exit to a 200mph corner,” added Button.
“The problem was it could have been a massive incident and was close to being a massive incident ,” Jenson concluded.
Race Director inexperience again demonstrated?
The marshal’s do display white flags and white lights around the circuit to warn drivers of an impending slow moving car, though this is not usually a defence for a driver deliberately traveling slowly to prepare their tyres for a qualification lap.
In previous years the Race Director’s noted have warned the drivers exiting spoon curve and traveling through 130R, not to travel too slowly. The cars then reach the final chicane before beginning their quick laps on the start/finish straight.
Yet whether due to inexperience or lack of preparation, the Race Rirector this weekend – Eduardo Freitas – made no mention of this safety matter.
Stewards exonerate Verstappen
Further, nearly all the cars throughout the weekend had been travelling slowly through this section when before their push laps.
Button admitted, “they were all going through that section slowly on an out lap – except for Lando,“ which may be why the stewards reached the following decision.
“The stewards ruling stated: “The driver of car 1 was aware of car 55 in front and car 4 approaching from behind and decided to accelerate at precisely the same time as car 4 decided to overtake car 1.”
“Unfortunately, due to lack of tyre temperature on car 1, the driver temporarily lost control of the car causing it to ‘snap’ anti-clockwise.
“The driver of car 4 stated that this was simply an unfortunate incident however it is the driver’s responsibility to at all times maintain control of their car.
Regarding penalty, all previous breaches of this nature have resulted in a Reprimand hence a similar penalty is imposed in this case.”
Verstappen believes Lando should be ‘more respoectful’
“We were all on our out lap,” Verstappen said. “And yeah, we were all lining up to try and create a gap to everyone.
“And somehow he still wanted to get me into the chicane. But I was at the point of accelerating but I was on very cold tyres, so I had like a little moment and that’s why you had to drive around me.
“But you know, if you’re just a bit more respectful than everyone is anyway already lining up.
“I don’t think anyone is trying to pass into that last chicane. So basically, by trying to pass me you create that kind of problem.”
A closer look at Max and Lando's close call during qualifying! 🔎 pic.twitter.com/e9YWMlP6IU
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) October 8, 2022