Max Verstappen has been hit with a €50,000 fine, that’s £42,681, after being summoned to the stewards over an alleged breach of the FIA International Sporting Code relating to parc ferme conditions late on Friday evening, as Lewis Hamilton’s outcome remains pending.
After setting the fastest time, Hamilton was seen getting out of his car to celebrate with his team, however, a fan video showed Verstappen looking at the rear of the Red Bull, and then seemingly reaching out to check his rival car too.
After hearing from Red Bull and Max Verstappen, the stewards say: “It is clear to the Stewards that it has become a habit of the drivers to touch cars after qualifying and the races.
“This was also the explanation of Verstappen, that it was simply habit to touch this area of the car which has been a point of speculation in recent races between both teams.
!This general tendency has been seen as mostly harmless and so has not been uniformly policed. Nevertheless, it is a breach of the parc fermé regulation and has significant potential to cause harm.”
Hamilton was initially the first of the pair to be summoned to the stewards after the FIA checked the Mercedes car after the qualifying session and impounded his rear wing over a possible Drag Reduction System (DRS) infringement following Friday’s qualifying.
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However, Verstappen was then summoned to the stewards over an alleged breach of the FIA International Sporting Code relating to parc ferme conditions, with the championship leader starting alongside the seven-time world champion on Saturday.
After setting the fastest time, Hamilton was seen clambering out of his car to the cheers from the Mercedes team, but questions were raised after a video emerged of Verstappen looking at the rear of the Red Bull, and then seemingly checking his rivals car too.
The stewards have taken so long in deciding an outcome after various trips the stewards for both drivers, that the FIA failed to give back Hamilton’s rear wing in time for second practice.
It meant Mercedes were given permission for it to be replaced under parc ferme regulations, resulting in a P5 finish ahead of the afternoon’s sprint qualifying session.
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Earlier in the day, boss Christian Horner said he would “be amazed” if Verstappen picked up a penalty, stating his driver was “just inquisitive” when checking Hamilton’s rear wing.
Horner told Sky Sports F1: “I would be amazed if it was [a penalty], there are so many precedents that have become standard practice for drivers.
“If you were to look at every single incident, where do you draw the line? Even the driver hugging his mechanics? Where do you draw the line on that?”
And with a decision still looming for Hamilton, Horner added it should be a clear-cut decision for the seven-time world champion.
He added: “The car has been reported to the stewards because it failed the test, and the test is quite clear.
“We all saw the video footage of the car failing the test, so I can’t see how it is then deemed to comply with the regs.
“So it’s, again, very binary, He’s either in or out.
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