Canadian GP stewards make decision on punishing Max Verstappen | F1 | Sport

Max Verstappen avoided a penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix following a trip to the stewards’ room after qualifying on Saturday night. The Dutchman came home in second place despite setting exactly the same time as pole-sitter George Russell in an extraordinary dead heat.

Verstappen was summoned by the stewards after the session had ended due to an alleged breach of the sporting regulations at the start of Q2. He was noted for stopping beside the fast lane before filtering into the line of cars as they exited the pit lane.

The stewards ultimately decided that no further action was required after being left satisfied that no breach occurred, meaning Verstappen will keep his position on the grid for Sunday’s race. Russell starts first thanks to setting his time before the Red Bull driver.

In a statement, the stewards explained: “The team stated in the hearing that they assumed Car 1 had crossed the solid white line separating the fast lane from the working lane when it was released from the garage and therefore followed the procedure outlined in Article 34.8 to leave the pit lane in the order the cars arrived there.

“The stewards determine that this assumption was inaccurate as no wheel of Car 1 had crossed the solid white line separating the fast lane from the working lane. It is noted that the fast lane is demarcated as the lane (marked by two solid white lines) closest to the pit wall. Any other white lines and/or painted areas have no relevance in this context.

“Given the fact that Car 1 was not in the fast lane at the start of the session, the regulations and the race director’s event notes only required the driver to blend into the fast lane as soon as it is safe to do so, meaning that if there is a suitable gap in a queue of cars in the fast lane, and without unnecessarily impeding cars already in the fast lane.

“The stewards contend that these requirements were fulfilled and take no further action.”

Verstappen struggled for pace in qualifying but managed to find some extra tenths in Q3 to ensure a place on the front row of the grid. In his post-session interview, he said he was ‘not that stressed’ about what the race will hold for Red Bull on a weekend which has seen them fall short of expectations.

“It’s how it is, right? Overall, we had a good qualifying,” said Verstappen. “The whole weekend has been a bit tricky for us. P2, I’ll take it. I would have definitely taken it going into qualifying. That it was that close at the end makes it really exciting for tomorrow as well.”

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