Qatar F1 Q3 yellow flags were justified, says Masi

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi backs the marshals who showed yellow flags during the Pierre Gasly incident in Q3 in Qatar, which ultimately led to Max Verstappen's grid penalty.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Yellow flags were shown after Gasly ran wide on his last lap at the penultimate corner, losing his front wing and puncturing his right front tyre.

He kept going in an attempt to get out of the way and not impede cars trying to finish the lap, but he then stopped on the pit straight.

At that stage flags were waved - initially a single yellow and then a double – and both Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas subsequently earned grid penalties for not respecting them.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner received an FIA warning for blaming a "rogue marshal" for putting out the flags, but Masi insisted that officials were just doing their duty.

"I think what the locals did, they reacted to the situation before [them]," said Masi.

"And that's plain and simple.

"If you have a look at what was there and what was happening and with everything Pierre's done, they acted upon instinct of what was before them."

Explaining the procedure, Masi said: "With all yellow flags that are displayed they are displayed from the trackside, they are in the hands of the officials control, as they are at every venue in every form of the sport anywhere.

"And if they deem it a single or a double it is up to those officials to determine that. And they judge what they see before them. That is why they are there.

"The local officials operate the yellow flags, they always have. The light panels as well, since the inception of light panels.

Michael Masi, Race Director

Michael Masi, Race Director

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

"So the yellow flags, white flags, blue flags during practice and qualifying.

"Effectively the things that are not operated by the local officials are the safety car, which is centrally controlled, VSC, which is centrally controlled, and red flags, as in red flags on the light panels, those three are centrally controlled, and everything else is for the local officials to operate."

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Masi said it took some time after the session to ascertain if any of the following drivers had not respected yellows.

Eventually Verstappen, Bottas and Carlos Sainz – who ultimately escaped any sanction – were all called to the stewards.

"If you have a look at where the cars were on the track from that perspective then you go through and have a look at all of the footage of every single car in the top 10, which is what I did, and then you look a the data and so forth, obviously it is time consuming, and you want to make sure is what you've got.

"So once we finally got to it we determined who had done what and what displayed and what wasn't displayed and so forth, and then reported those to the stewards and they picked up the summons."

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