ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — Championship contender Max Verstappen has escaped a grid penalty at the Dutch Grand Prix after he was investigated for overtaking another car under red flags in Friday practice.
On-board footage from Verstappen’s car showed him passing Lance Stroll between Turns 10 and 11 just after red flags were displayed for Lewis Hamilton stopping at track early in first practice.
However, the speed difference between the two cars was significant and Verstappen did not pass a trackside light board displaying a red flag before passing the Aston Martin.
“The Stewards heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen) and the team representative,” the stewards’ statement read. “The Stewards having reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, telemetry, team radio and in-car and CCTV video. The Race Management System indicates that the red flag and red lights were initiated at 15:10:12. When VER passed Light Panel 14 (which is prior to the point of the overtake) it was not illuminated.
“As VER approached the rear of the car (within a few metres) of STR, the red light on VER’s steering wheel activated. At this point VER’s speed was 260 km/h and STR’s was 110km/h, a delta of 150 km/h. At this point, telemetry shows that VER immediately lifted and braked. Because of the speed delta, VER’s momentum carried him past STR.
“Simultaneously the Light Panel 15 (showing red) became visible to VER. At approximately 15:10:17 the team radioed VER ‘Red Flag’.
“It is our conclusion that the driver of Car 33 took every reasonable action to comply with the regulations in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red flag, even before a red flag or red light panel was visible to him, and that this satisfies the requirements of the Code (Art 126.96.36.199 b of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code).”
Verstappen was summoned to the stewards at 10:45 on Saturday morning along with team manager Jonathan Wheatley. The news that the stewards would take no further action was issued just ahead of the final practice session at Zandvoort.