Max Verstappen escapes practice start infringement with a warning

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen not looking happy as he stares. Baku June 2022

Red Bull driver and reigning World Champion Max Verstappen not looking happy as he stares. Baku June 2022

Max Verstappen has been given a warning by the Belgian Grand Prix stewards for a practice start infringement at the end of Friday’s second practice.

Practicing a start at the end of Friday’s second practice, a session in which he dominated the timesheet to finish eight-tenths up on Charles Leclerc, Verstappen overtook the Mercedes of George Russell.

That saw him called up before the stewards at 19:15 local time in Belgium, the driver and a Red Bull representative making his case.

After a lengthy delay in issuing their decision, finally making a ruling on Saturday morning, the stewards confirmed a breach of Article 12.2.1.i) of the FIA International Sporting Code.

However, instead of a penalty, they gave him a warning.

The statement from the stewards read: “The Stewards heard from the drivers of Car 1 and team representatives and reviewed video evidence.

“At 17:59 during second practice, the driver of Car 1 passed a car that was in line to do practice starts and cut into the line to do a practice start, thereby not leaving in the order he arrived.

“This is a breach of the Racing Director’s Event Notes and the Stewards issued a Warning.

“Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.”

Verstappen will be starting the Belgian Grand Prix from the back of the grid anyway due to engine penalties. He is one of six drivers penalised for exceeding their allocation for the season.

The driver was happy with his performance in Friday’s second practice.

“Not so much really changed,” Verstappen said.

“I think we just looked at how we could set up the car in the best possible way and I think as soon as we went out the car was working pretty well.

“I mean, those little things you know you want to fine-tune with balance, but out of the first run I was happy with the car.

“From the laps we did, I think the car was working well – that’s positive. Of course, I would have liked to run a little bit more, including everyone else, but so far it’s been a good start.”