Verstappen hit with grid penalty


Max Verstappen has been handed a grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix after his car broke down during Q1 on Saturday.

The Toro Rosso rookie had made it into Q2 at Suzuka, but his car suffered a sudden loss of power during the final few seconds of the session and he parked it at the hairpin. It resulted in yellow flags and a premature end to Q1.

He was due to start P15 on the grid, but the stewards have hit him with a three-place grid penalty.

"Car 33 experienced a sudden power loss at the exit of turn 11," the stewards' statement read. "The driver initially moved to the left side of the track towards a safe position and when it was about to stop, moved to the right onto the racing line, where it eventually stopped. This caused double yellow flags to be shown and endangered oncoming drivers."

Verstappen will now start P18 and he admits they will be on the back foot for Sunday's race.

"Certainly not the best of days! I had a sudden loss of power, all the electricity shut-down in the hairpin and from there on I couldn't do anything," the Dutch teenager said. 

"It's very frustrating, because the car was going very well, but in the end it is what it is… We might be on the back foot again before the race, but we never give up."