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Qatar GP: Max Verstappen handed grid penalty after qualifying breach and drops from second to seventh

Last Updated: 21/11/21 12:42pm

F1 title leader Max Verstpapen has been handed a five-place grid penalty for the Qatar GP and will start today’s race from seventh after a yellow-flag infringement in qualifying.

The stewards ruled that Verstappen, who was due to start on the front row behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton, failed to respect double waved yellow flags following Pierre Gasly’s puncture at the end of Q3.

Valtteri Bottas has also received a grid drop, although only three places due to his breach being under single waved yellows. Bottas will start sixth behind Carlos Sainz, who was also summoned to stewards but avoided punishment as he made a “significant reduction in speed”.

The decision, made just 90 minutes before the start of the Doha race, means Hamilton will start on pole position ahead of Gasly and Fernando Alonso, mixing up the order for a race that is live on Sky Sports F1 at 2pm.

Verstappen is currently 14 points ahead of Hamilton in the title standings with just three races remaining.

New Qatar GP top-10 starting grid for race live at 2pm
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
3) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
4) Lando Norris, McLaren
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
7) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
8) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
9) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
10) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

More to follow.

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