Verstappen summoned to see stewards, pole at risk?

Pole Position for Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB15.
© XPB 

Max Verstappen's pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix appears to be under threat despite early reports that the FIA was not 'currently' investigating an incident in the final seconds of qualifying at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Valtteri Bottas went into the wall at the final corner on his final Q3 run, triggering a local yellow that prevented behind anyone coming through the final sector from improving their times.

But there were questions about whether Verstappen had lifted off sufficiently to comply with the safety rules. He set a purple sector time on that run and narrowly improved his overall lap time.

"There was actually no yellow board or anything there for that last run," suggested team principal Christian Horner when he discussed the matter with Sky Sports F1. "Good job we got the first run in!

"Max has been on fire all day and done a phenomenal job, really pleased with that," he added.

The FIA initially stated that despite setting a faster time, Verstappen was not "currently" under investigation for the incident, suggesting it was felt that he had backed off sufficiently at the scene of the accident.

But now it's been confirmed that the driver has been summoned to see the stewards, perhaps in relation to some blunt comments he made immediately afterwards about not backing off at all during his final push lap.

"It didn't really look like it, did it? No!" he replied when asked by reporters whether he had eased off the pace in the final corner. "I was aware that Valtteri crashed.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 crashed during qualifying.

"I think we know what we are doing, otherwise we wouldn’t be driving an F1 car," he explained. "It’s qualifying, you go for it."

He added that the stewards should delete that final lap time if they thought he had broken the rules. "If they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”

However a penalty might be more than just the removal of a single fastest lap time. Last year Marcus Ericsson was given a five-place grid drop for not complying with double waved yellow flags in qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel reported that there were double waved yellows on show for today's incident, but this wasn't immediately clear from the onboard video.

Verstappen's pole lap clocked in at 1:14.758s, which was a quarter of a second faster than Charles Leclerc. Ferrari had been favourites to lock out the front row this weekend due to the SF90's speed advantage down the straights.

"We did not really expect this, but it immediately felt good during qualifying," Verstappen explained afterwards.

"It's been an interesting day, and to come out on top is incredible" he told Paul di Resta on the start-finish line.

“The last few races we knew Ferrari have been really quick on the straight, but for us to come back like this and take pole position like this – a big thank you to the team.

"They kept pushing very hard and bringing new parts to the car, and it showed today that we are very quick.

“Secretly, you always hope and you always keep pushing. You try to find the right balance in the car, and in Q3 that came together.

Pole for Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB15.

"I am a bit surprised indeed, but that is nice of course," he added. "Very happy with this result and good from the team."

However, a realistic Verstappen admitted that it would be very hard for him to defend the lead into the first corner at the start of the race on Sunday.

"It'll be a bit different for me starting first instead of second on this track," he said. "We'll give it our all.

"We have a good race car anyway, so even something happens at the start and we lose a position I think we can still have some fun."

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