Max Verstappen’s engineer mentions Qatar penalty in Spa warning

There was an amusing moment during FP3 in Spa.

Max Verstappen’s Red Bull engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, had a hilarious response to his driver when he noted that there were no yellow flags during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Red Bull were not pleased when Verstappen was given a five-second penalty in Qatar last season after traversing a yellow flag, but going flat-out anyway.

The AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly had stopped on the main straight at the Losail Circuit after a mechanical problem during practice, and Christian Horner suggested that a “rogue marshal” had waved a yellow flag unnecessarily – he was put on an awareness course by the FIA for that comment.

Nonetheless, Verstappen was given a grid drop and two points on his license, and that came two years after he lost pole having sped through yellow flags in Mexico.

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Red Bull are therefore understandably wary of yellow flags, and Verstappen was told that he went through one during the third practice session at Spa.

Replays appeared to show green flags at Blanchimont, although it was a very brief clip, and the 24-year-old told Lambiase that there were no yellows where he was.

“There was no flag in Qatar either,” was the engineer’s brilliant response.

This was either a sarcastic message to Verstappen for wrongly protesting his innocence in Qatar, or a swipe at the stewards for giving him an undeserved penalty but, either way, it was a fabulous bit of radio content.

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Verstappen went on to take pole in qualifying by six tenths of a second on Saturday, before Carlos Sainz inherited the position when Verstappen took his engine grid drop.

The reigning champion started 14th as a result, with Charles Leclerc, who had also taken penalties, behind in P15.

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A phenomenal performance from Verstappen saw him take the win by almost 20 seconds from team-mate Sergio Perez, who came across the line to secure Red Bull’s fourth one-two of the year.

Perez now sits second in the championship, 93 points behind Verstappen, with Leclerc a further five behind after he finished sixth.

Sainz gained 15 points for the Scuderia with his podium finish behind the untouchable Red Bull pair.