Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen has been hit with a five-place grid penalty at the Qatar grand prix after ignoring yellow flags during Saturday’s qualifying session.
The Red Bull driver was set to start second on the grid alongside title-rival Lewis Hamilton, who stormed to pole position to gain the upper-hand for Mercedes in Doha.
Now Hamilton has a chance to close the 14-point gap to Verstappen in the drivers’ championship with the Dutchman starting seventh at the Losail International Circuit.
Verstappen drops back as a result of an incident at the end of qualifying, where a puncture for the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly caused confusion on track and he did not slow down sufficiently under double-waved yellow flags.
The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas – who qualified third – was hit with a similar punishment, only taking a three-place penalty as he failed to slow under single-waved yellows.
The sanctions mean Gasly will now start alongside Hamilton.