Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have escaped possible sanctions from the FIA regarding two incidents during Mexican Grand Prix qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton was accused of failing to slow down under a yellow flag, while world champion Verstappen has been excused alongside George Russell.
Verstappen and Russell were investigated after being accused of blocking the pit lane exit during the qualifying session. Both incidents came in the early stages of the session when all 20 cars were on the track.
Red Bull driver Verstappen and Mercedes’ Russell escaped punishment, though, despite television replays showing that they had indeed blocked the pit lane exit.
FIA stewards excused the pair, explaining that the incident was caused by all drivers being required to meet a minimum lap time while on slow laps.
“The Stewards noted, in particular, the evidence of the drivers of Car 1, 14 and 63 and also noted that several other cars slowed either at the pit exit or in the pit road leading up to the SC2 line,” FIA said in a statement as reported by Express UK.
“The Stewards consider that the entire set of incidents occurred as a direct result of the implementation of the minimum lap time between SC2 and SC1 which is designed (correctly so, in our view) to avoid dangerous backing-up of cars on the circuit during qualification.
“We note that there are contrary requirements on drivers in that they must respect the minimum time, they are attempting to create manageable gaps to cars in front, yet they are also required to avoid unnecessarily stopping at the pit exit or driving unnecessarily slowly.
“It was also particularly noted that the Race Director accepted that these contrary requirements exist. All parties including the Stewards are firmly of the view that it is better to have the potential of cars backing up in the pit lane or at the pit exit instead of the potentially dangerous situation of large speed differences on track.
“We consider that all drivers involved in these incidents acted in good faith and with safety as a priority.”
Stewards also insisted that Hamilton did not breach race rules despite failing to slow under yellow flags. Cameras mounted to his Mercedes vehicle allowed the stewards to come to their conclusion.
“We determine that there was no breach of the regulations,” the FIA statement reads.
“The onboard video clearly shows there is no light or flag displayed to Car 44 on the straight into Turn 1, then a green light shows as he enters Turn 2, followed by two pulses of a yellow light then moments later, the light panel is blank. The driver was slightly slower in the mini sector than on his previous push lap.”