Max Verstappen has secured pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after the stewards decided not to impose any penalties following a post-qualifying investigation. The investigation was prompted by allegations that Verstappen impeded Kevin Magnussen, the Haas driver, on the exit of Turn 1 during the first part of qualifying.
The stewards carefully reviewed video footage of the incident and conducted interviews with both drivers involved. They ultimately determined that Magnussen did not have to take any evasive action because of Verstappen‘s positioning on the track. As a result, they concluded that no penalty was necessary.
In a statement issued by the stewards, it was revealed that Verstappen explained he moved to the left side of the track after completing his push lap and saw a car approaching. On the other hand, Magnussen stated that he had to move to the right in order to avoid Verstappen, thereby losing valuable time on his own fast lap.
The stewards studied video and audio evidence and concluded that Magnussen had clipped the kerb in Turn 1, causing a slight change in acceleration and resulting in a marginally slower time on the following mini sectors. Despite this, the stewards determined that Magnussen did not have to take significant evasive action.
It is important to note that the subsequent deletion of Magnussen’s lap time (due to exceeding track limits at Turn 10) did not impact the stewards’ decision. They emphasized that each incident is assessed independently, regardless of other penalties or incidents.
Immediately after the incident, Magnussen radioed his team to express his frustration, stating, “Max Verstappen was completely in the way.” Verstappen himself also communicated with his engineer, asking, “He was on a fast lap?” in reference to Magnussen’s position behind him.
With no further action taken regarding the incident, Verstappen will maintain his pole position for the upcoming Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz following closely behind in second and third place, respectively.
Moving forward, the day will feature an additional qualifying session, known as the sprint shootout, which will determine the starting grid for a 100km sprint race later in the day. Excitement looms as the drivers gear up for the thrilling Austrian Grand Prix.