Max Verstappen has been stripped of his 2019 Mexican Grand Prix pole position. The Dutch driver will start fourth after a three-place grid penalty was assessed Saturday afternoon (Oct. 26) for failing to heed a local yellow flag. In addition to the grid penalty, Verstappen was also assessed two penalty points. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who qualified second, will now start on the pole.
When television coverage of qualifying finished up, Verstappen was the pole winner for 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. He had finally gotten that elusive Mexican pole after being pipped of the front spot by then-teammate Daniel Ricciardo last year.
He had set the fastest lap on the first set of out laps over Leclerc, and when Valtteri Bottas crashed off of the final corner, the double yellow flags came out forcing all following drivers to back out of the throttle. Leclerc was the first driver of the top six to cross the line, but went wide entering the Foro Sol and was unable to better his time.
When the crash occurred, everyone backed out of their laps, except for Verstappen, who actually improved on his time. As Verstappen was already first when the crash stopped the session, it did not change the actual result of the session. The FIA noticed and called Verstappen to the stewards following qualifying. According to Formula1.com, Verstappen claimed that he did see Bottas’ stricken car, but not the waving yellow flag.