The pre-race of the Grand Prix of Qatar represented the final explosion of tensions between Red Bull and Mercedes in this very tough race to conquer the two world titles, drivers and manufacturers, which is being decided both on the track and in the ‘secret rooms’ of the steward. The straw that broke the camel’s back within the Milton Keynes team was there penalty of five positions on the grid for Max Verstappen. The Dutchman was sanctioned for not slowing down under double yellow flags at the end of yesterday’s Q3. Second in qualifying, the world championship leader will thus find himself forced to start from seventh position today. For the same reason, Valtteri Bottas was also sanctioned, but he received only three penalty positions having ignored a single yellow flag.
The biggest controversies came about the management of the same yellow flags by the race marshals. On the track there were in fact contradictory signs: a single marshall waving flags on the left of the main straight, a green light led on the right, as well as an extremely short display of the danger flags themselves. Helmut Marko, Eminence Gray from Red Bull, interviewed by DAZN on the starting grid in Losail, he did not hide his resentment precisely for this lack of professionalism, according to him, shown by the Federation itself. “It’s ridiculous – thundered the Austrian manager – it is known that the FIA is unable to organize a coordination system [dei commissari] adequate e they are hiding their incompetence by blaming the pilot. Incredible”.
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