Sargeant handed 10-place penalty for F1 Mexico GP as everyone else is cleared

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It was an extraordinary qualifying session in Mexico as Verstappen, Russell, Alonso, Hamilton and Sargeant all faced investigations as the end of Q1 turned into a mess.

Verstappen, Alonso and Russell stopping at the end of the pit lane

The Red Bull, Aston Martin and Mercedes driver all saw the stewards in regards to stopping at the end of the pit lane during Q1.

This had already become a topic in Singapore as Max Verstappen received a reprimand for doing it during qualifying there.

However, no further action was taken against all three of them as the stewards admitted that it’s safer for them to create a gap at the end of the pit lane than the potential danger of cars backing-up in the final sector, especially when other drivers are coming through on a fast lap.

They hope to have a resolution in the future to avoid cars stopping at the end of pit lane, as well as the danger of cars going too slowly on out 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.

“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 in the main all drivers involved in these incidents were acting in

good faith and with safety as a priority. We also accept that Race Direction has

taken the correct approach in apply the minimum lap time. It is desirable that a better solution be found for the pit exit however at this stage what that solution would be, is unknown.

“In view of the above, no further action is taken.”

Hamilton failing to slow under yellow flags

No further action was taken against Lewis Hamilton as the seven-time World Champion saw the stewards over allegedly going too fast down the main straight and through turns 2 and 3 under yellow flags following Fernando Alonso’s spin.

As Hamilton was slower in the mini sector compared to his previous attempt where a yellow light was briefly shown, the stewards were satisfied no breach was committed.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), team representative and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, timing, telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence.

“The on board 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, which is followed by 2 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.

“Our determination is that there was no breach of the regulations.”

Sargeant overtaking under yellow flags

One driver who did get a penalty was Logan Sargeant, however. The Floridian drive was handed a 10-place grid drop for his actions at the end of Q1.

With Alonso having spun out of turn 3, the yellow flags waved for a solid amount of time before the Spaniard got going again.

As Sargeant came through, the Williams driver overtook Yuki Tsunoda under yellow flags as the Japanese driver pulled off the racing line after abandoning his lap because of that. The 22-year-old also failed to slow anywhere near enough in a zone where it’s required.

The stewards took a dim view of this and he was hit with a 10-place grid penalty. Sargeant didn’t set a time in qualifying and will start P20.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 2 (Logan Sargeant), team representative and reviewed positioning/marshaling system data, video, timing telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence.

“The driver of Car 2 stated that he overtook Car 22 because he appeared to be going

slowly and also because he saw the green panel ahead.

“The Stewards determined however that this was a breach of the regulations. The fact that a driver can see a green panel or flag ahead, does not mean that overtaking can occur in what is still a yellow flag zone. Overtaking can only occur after passing the green panel or flag.

“It was also noted that he did not make a sufficient reduction in speed.”

Photo credit: Williams Racing