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Formula 1 Singapore GP

Verstappen escapes impeding F1 penalties amid AlphaTauri no-show

Max Verstappen has escaped a grid penalty for the Singapore Grand Prix as it emerged that Red Bull sister Formula 1 team AlphaTauri did not attend the stewards hearing.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The defending two-time world champion was eliminated in Q2 at Marina Bay, underlining the ongoing struggles for the RB19 machines this weekend, with Verstappen bemoaning an "undriveable" car that bottomed out and left him bereft of confidence under braking.

Having set the 11th fastest time in a shootout topped by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz over George Russell, Verstappen was then summoned to the FIA stewards on three separate counts.

The runaway points leader first caught their attention for possibly impeding the Williams of rookie F1 racer Logan Sargeant between Turn 17 and 18 in Q1, then for allegedly impeding cars at the pit exit after his RB19 appeared to hit an issue while he sat at a green light.

Verstappen was also called to explain why appeared to impede AlphaTauri driver and Q1 pacesetter Yuki Tsunoda between Turns 3 and 4.

It appears that the stewards did not formally invite an AlphaTauri representative to the hearing, as per normal procedure.

Verstappen was handed a reprimand for two of the three cases.

For the Sargeant incident, the stewards ruled that Verstappen was limited in his options due to traffic overtaking on either side and therefore continuing in a straight line was "the safest option" to avoid a collision.

The Tsunoda case, viewed by many as the most likely to cost Verstappen, was cleared owing to the precedent set earlier this season.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The FIA noted: "The stewards reviewed a number of impeding and alleged impeding incidents from this current season and consistent with previous decisions in relation to the severity of the breach, impose a penalty of a reprimand on the driver and a fine [€5,000] for the competitor [Red Bull]."

Verstappen was also excused for the pit exit case, despite an "extraordinary" wait of 14 seconds.

The verdict concluded: "The driver stated that he waited (approximately 14 seconds) to leave the pit exit in order to create a gap to the cars in front.

"The team representative explained that his gap was negated by Turn 5 due to other cars slowing on the out lap, whilst the car behind [Verstappen] had increased its gap to 12 seconds.

"Whilst no obvious advantage was gained by the driver in waiting at the pit exit for what is deemed to be an extraordinary long time, the potential for this to negatively impact other drivers warrants a penalty.

"Whilst it is noted that the car behind could have overtaken [Verstappen], it is preferable that cars depart the pit exit in an orderly manner."

The breach of the sporting regulations, in this case, merited a "penalty" of a further reprimand.

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