Carlos Sainz in trouble over Max Verstappen incident

Carlos Sainz was involved in a controversial incident with Max Verstappen in Qatar, attracting the stewards' attention.

Carlos Sainz has received a warning by the Qatar Grand Prix stewards for purposefully blocking Max Verstappen, whilst both drivers were preparing for a hot lap during qualifying.

The incident occurred in the final sector during Q2, with Sainz having been going slower than the reigning World Champion.

As a result, Verstappen caught Sainz and tried to overtake him; however, the Ferrari driver blocked the Dutchman on purpose, something he did to ensure he didn’t go below the minimum lap-time of a 1:46.000.

Nevertheless, it resulted in a huge near miss, which could’ve easily ended with both cars crashing into each other.

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Verstappen was perplexed as to why Sainz was blocking so aggressively, something he was quick to inform his team about.

“What is he doing, man?” the Dutchman complained over the radio. “He’s defending! Did you see that? I almost crashed into him!”

Both drivers were summoned to the stewards after qualifying to explain their view of the incident, with Verstappen having understood that Sainz was blocking him to keep below the minimum lap-time.

“Car 55 [Sainz] was on a cool-down lap while Car 1 [Verstappen] was on a out lap,” the stewards stated.

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“When Car 1 caught up on Car 55 and tried to pass, the driver of Car 55 defended his position and did that in a manner that was reasonably unpredictable for the pursuing car.

“During the hearing the driver of Car 55 stated that he could not afford being passed by another car as he had to stay below the maximum lap time between SC lines 2 and 1.

“Whilst this was accepted by the Stewards as well as by the driver of Car 1, the measures taken by Car 55 were deemed to be unnecessary given the fact that the incident happened in qualifying and cars are not supposed to directly race each other while preparing for flying laps.”

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The incident arguably had a much bigger impact on Sainz than it did Verstappen, as the 29-year-old was eliminated in Q2.

Sainz will start Sunday’s race from 12th on the grid, whereas the reigning World Champion will be at the front.

Verstappen stormed to pole position once again, with his attention now being on claiming the title in Saturday’s sprint race.