Max Verstappen feels it would be “really stupid” if the FIA stewards opted to give him a penalty for impeding Valtteri Bottas during Formula 1 qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, believing he did nothing wrong when slowing down on-track.
Verstappen backed off during a lap at the start of Q3 in order to find a gap and work his tires, moving to the left-hand side of the circuit heading into the Foro Sol stadium section.
Mercedes’ Bottas remained on a flying lap and came across Verstappen, peeling to the right-hand side of the circuit as per the racing line before locking up and going deep at the next corner.
Bottas immediately returned to the pits, feeling Verstappen had ruined his lap, and the stewards quickly confirmed they would be investigating the Red Bull driver after the session.
“I was on the left. I don’t think I was in the way,” Verstappen told NBCSN after qualifying second.
“He locks up the next corner doing his normal line. That’s not my problem. I’m not in the way there.
“That would be really stupid [if a penalty was given]. You know my comment already.”
Bottas made no secret of his frustration when talking to NBCSN after the session, having qualified fourth with just a single flying lap at the end of Q3.
“For me, it definitely ruined my lap in the end. I was coming out of Turn 12, definitely in the turbulent air, and it compromised my line for 13,” Bottas said.
“That’s why I locked my brakes for 13. So I only had one shot in Q3.”
Verstappen’s latest visit to the stewards comes just six days after he was stripped of a podium finish in the United States Grand Prix for cutting a corner on the final lap when passing Kimi Raikkonen, with the decision sparking a wide debate about their decisions in F1.
The Mexican Grand Prix is live on NBC from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.