By Alan Baldwin
MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Max Verstappen took pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday but then stepped into hot water by recognising he had not slowed for yellow warning flags after Valtteri Bottas crashed.
A spokesman for the governing FIA said the 22-year-old Red Bull driver had been summoned to the stewards for comments made in an official post-qualifying news conference.
“I was aware that Valtteri crashed,” the Dutchman said in a terse reply to a question about the incident at the end of the session, with Mercedes title contender Bottas smashing into the wall at the final corner.
Asked whether he had backed off, Verstappen replied: “Didn’t really look like it, did it? No.”
The flags warn drivers that they must reduce speed and be prepared to change direction.
Asked about the safety perspective, Verstappen said: “I think we know what we are doing, otherwise we wouldn’t be driving an F1 car.
“It’s qualifying and you go for it. If they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”
Verstappen set his pole time with the first flying lap of the final top-10 session and faced yellow flags on his later second effort.
Verstappen has a chequered record with stewards, particularly in Mexico — in 2016 he was demoted from third to fourth in the race after stewards ruled he had gained an advantage by leaving the track limits.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)