Verstappen escapes penalty after blocking investigation

Dutchman not guilty of blocking Gorsjean in qualifying

Hungarian Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will keep his seventh place on the grid after he was accused of blocking Haas’ Romain Grosjean in qualifying.

With both Verstappen and Grosjean competing in the final part of qualifying, they were running close to each other in the final sector of the lap.

With the Dutchman backing off in order to prepare for another lap, Grosjean, who was on a flying lap, was forced to back off and make another attempt.

Grosjean sent an expletive-laden message over the radio expressing his displeasure at the incident, and the stewards confirmed that they would be investigating after the session.

However, after reviewing the incident, the stewards believed that because Verstappen was held up by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, and vision was difficult for all drivers, no further action would be taken against Verstappen.

The statement read:

“The stewards examined video and audio evidence of the incident. The stewards heard from Max Verstappen, the driver of car 33, Romain Grosjean, the driver of car 8 and the team representatives.

“Verstappen was on a fast lap but then caught Gasly early in the lap. He then aborted the lap. Grosjean who was on a fast lap, was catching Verstappen. He was six seconds behind at turn 11 and four seconds behind at turn 13. Verstappen was close to Gasly going into turn 13. At this point Gasly set up for his flying lap and Verstappen in turn slowed to get a gap. Grosjean caught Verstappen between turn 13 and turn 14 which impede Grosjean.

“While Verstappen was given reasonable, if slightly delayed information by his team, the stewards took into account that with the very wet conditionsm there was limited visibility ahead, and no visibility behind the drivers. The gaps between Gasly, Verstappen and Grosjean changed over a very short section of the track, and under the conditions the stewards determined that the impeding was not, as the rules states, “unnecessary impeding” and therefore take no further action.”

The Red Bull’s will start the race in seventh and twelfth place.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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