Carlos Sainz slapped with warning after Max Verstappen lashes out 

Carlos Sainz managed to dodge a penalty and potential grid drop after an incident with rival Max Verstappen in Qatar.

Carlos Sainz found himself in hot water during the Qatar Grand Prix qualifying session as he faced scrutiny from the stewards for what was termed ‘erratic driving.’ 

The Ferrari driver was involved in an incident with Max Verstappen during Q2, where Verstappen accused Sainz of defending against him.

The incident unfolded as both drivers were preparing for their final flying laps, with Max Verstappen attempting to overtake Sainz. 

In response to the perceived defensive driving by Sainz, Verstappen voiced his frustration over team radio, saying, “What is he doing, man? He’s defending! 

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“Did you see that? I almost crashed into him.”

Despite Verstappen’s complaints, Sainz managed to escape any immediate grid penalty or reprimand. 

However, the stewards decided to investigate the matter further after the qualifying session concluded.

The stewards’ official verdict on the incident stated, “Car 55 [Sainz] was on a cool-down lap while Car 1 [Verstappen] was on an out lap. 

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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 stewards’ hearing, Carlos Sainz explained his actions, noting that he couldn’t afford to be passed by another car as he had to stay below the maximum lap time between specific safety car lines. 

This explanation was accepted both by the stewards and by Max Verstappen.

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However, the stewards ultimately deemed Sainz’s actions unnecessary, given the context of the incident occurring during qualifying, where cars are not supposed to engage in direct racing while preparing for flying laps. 

As a result, Carlos Sainz received a warning from the stewards for his conduct during the session.

In what turned out to be a challenging qualifying session for Sainz, he secured his lowest qualifying position of the season, finishing in 12th place.