FIA issue Max Verstappen verdict over alleged Canada GP infringement

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, looks glum at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen played his part in a Canada qualifying thriller and was later cleared by the stewards over a potential pit-lane infringement.

With sprinklings of rain passing through the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but not deterring the dry-tyre running, the stage was set for a thrilling qualifying crescendo, which saw George Russell and Verstappen set an identical time of 1:12.000, with Russell taking pole by virtue of clocking that lap first.

Max Verstappen cleared by Canada stewards

Verstappen though was left to wait on a stewards’ verdict after being summoned over allegedly failing to follow the race director’s instructions in the pit lane during Q2.

However, after speaking to the Drivers’ Championship leader and reviewing the situation, the stewards determined that Verstappen had not committed a breach, clearing him to take up his front-row position for the Canadian Grand Prix.

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“The stewards heard from the driver of Car 1 (Max Verstappen), team representative and reviewed video and in-car video evidence,” their report began.

“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 (item 11, document 29) 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.”

It was a mixed day for Red Bull on Saturday in Canada, as while Verstappen came oh so close to pole, Sergio Perez has been left with major work to do after suffering consecutive Q1 eliminations.

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