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Verstappen stripped of Mexican GP pole for ignoring yellow flag, Leclerc promoted to P1

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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 26: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red

Max Verstappen has been stripped of his Mexican Grand Prix pole position after the stewards handed him a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow for Valtteri Bottas’ Q3 crash…

Verstappen was running behind Bottas when the Finn crashed heavily at Turn 17. The Red Bull driver passed one yellow flag en route to bettering his initial leading lap time in qualifying.

After speaking to Verstappen and reviewing video, audio and telemetry evidence, the stewards ruled the Red Bull driver “attempted to set a meaningful lap time and failed to reduce his speed in the relevant marshalling sector.”

The yellow flag infraction that earned Verstappen a 3-place grid drop

They added: “[Verstappen] admitted that he was aware that car 77 (Valtteri Bottas) crashed and did see the car on the left hand side of the track, but was not aware of the waved yellow flag. He also admitted not reducing his speed on the yellow sector.

“The Stewards noted from the on board images of Car 33, that the waved yellow flag was clearly visible and was shown with enough notice.

“The previous driver (Vettel) reduced the speed significantly as per the regulations.”

As a result, they handed him a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points. It means he will start P4 on the grid, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc promoted to pole and Ferrari team mate Vettel joining him on the front row.

Lewis Hamilton, who can clinch a sixth world title by finishing 14 points clear of Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, will start in P3.

Following the penalty, Verstappen said: "It is very disappointing to be handed a grid penalty for the race and Ferrari will be very quick tomorrow so tyre life will be important but we have a really good race car so it should be a close fight.”

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