Belgian GP: Max Verstappen under investigation by the FIA for a second time

Max Verstappen topped second practice at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen has been warned by the stewards after they found a discrepancy during his practice start at the Belgian Grand Prix.

It has already been a busy weekend for the Dutchman, who headed to Spa with an engine penalty that should see him start from the eighth row of the grid alongside Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

The Red Bull driver set 30 laps during the opening two practice sessions of the weekend on Friday, going third in the opening hour behind the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Leclerc.

The 24-year-old then went fastest in FP2, eight tenths faster than the Monegasque in the second part of practice.

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During FP1, Verstappen had a close call with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi when the mechanics released the Canadian into his path, but no action was taken as there was sufficient distance between the pair.

It was at the end of FP2 when things kicked off though, as Verstappen overtook cars that were waiting to do a practice start, before almost hitting an Alpine after he had stopped and performed a launch of his own.

The reigning champion was given a warning for the first incident for a breach of the race director’s notes on practice starts, which say the following:

“For reasons of safety and sporting equity, at any time the pit exit is open, and practice starts are permitted to be carried out, any driver who wishes to perform a practice start must form up in a line and leave in the order they got there unless another car is unduly delayed.”

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A statement from the stewards read: “The driver [Verstappen] and team representative [Red Bull] are required to report to the stewards at 19:15 in relation to the incident below:

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“Alleged breach of Article 12.2.1 i of the International Sporting Code and non-compliance with the race director’s note (item 12,Document 3) – Practice start infringement.

“The stewards heard from the driver of car 1 (Max Verstappen) and team representative 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 race director’s event notes and the stewards issue 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 and Leclerc are joined by Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, Mick Schumacher and Zhou Guanyu in picking up penalties this weekend.