Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Fernando Alonso have all escaped penalties after qualifying at the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Verstappen, Russell and Alonso were all investigated over alleged impeding in the pit lane, with the trio waiting at the exit to leave in order to find a gap ahead of their Q2 laps. While the stewards did feel that cars were unnecessarily impeded as a result, they say it’s due to the minimum delta time that drivers have to adhere to on track and therefore the pit exit is a better place to create a gap than the final sector.
“The stewards consider that the entire set of incidents occurred as a direct result of the implementation of the minimum lap time between SC2 and SC1 which is designed (correctly so, in our view) to avoid dangerous backing-up of cars on the circuit during qualification,” the stewards’ decision read.
“We note that there are contrary requirements on drivers in that they must respect the minimum time, they are attempting to create manageable gaps to cars in front, yet they are also required to avoid unnecessarily stopping at the pit exit or driving unnecessarily slowly.
“It was also particularly noted that the Race Director accepted that these contrary requirements exist. All parties including the stewards are firmly of the view that it is better to have the potential of cars backing-up in the pit lane or at the pit exit, instead of the potentially dangerous situation of large speed differences on track.
“We consider that in the main all drivers involved in these incidents were acting in good faith and with safety as a priority. We also accept that Race Direction has taken the correct approach in apply the minimum lap time. It is desirable that better solution be found for the pit exit however at this stage, what that solution would be, is unknown.”
In Hamilton’s case, the Mercedes driver was summoned over allegedly failing to slow for yellow flags at Turn 3, after Alonso had spun in Q1. However, the stewards felt he wasn’t given a clear yellow flag signal to adhere to.
“The on board video clearly shows there is no light or flag displayed to Car 44 on the straight into Turn 1,” the decision read. “Then a green light shows as he enters Turn 2, which is followed by two pulses of a yellow light then moments later, the light panel is blank. The driver was slightly slower in the mini sector than on his previous push lap.
“Our determination is that there was no breach of the regulations.”
The only penalty was handed out to Logan Sargeant, who was hit with a 10-place grid drop for overtaking under yellow flags. Sargeant passed Yuki Tsunoda and told the stewards he could see a green panel ahead but that was not accepted as a legitimate excuse. Having seen his Q1 lap times deleted for track limits infringements, the penalty has no bearing on Sargeant’s starting position in 20th, although he now has six penalty points over the past 12- month period.