Max Verstappen has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix after being found guilty of parking ‘in a potentially dangerous position’ during qualifying.
The Dutch teenager left his Scuderia Toro Rosso stranded on the exit of the hairpin after the car experience a complete electrical shutdown with a few moments left of the opening qualifying session.
Although he had done enough to make it through into the second stage, it meant the end of the session for Verstappen, and would have started fifteenth as a result but for the penalty, which relegates him to eighteenth.
“Car #33 [Verstappen] experienced a sudden power loss at the exit of Turn 11,” said an FIA statement. “The driver initially moved to the left side of the track towards a safe position and when it was about to stop, moved to the right on to the racing line where it eventually stopped.
“This caused double yellow flags to be shown and endangered oncoming drivers.”
Verstappen will get back one of those positions as Daniil Kvyat will start from the pit lane for the race, but is ready for another afternoon of overtaking on Sunday to secure the top ten finish that he is aiming for.
“Certainly not the best of days!” said Verstappen. “I had a sudden loss of power, all the electricity shut-down in the hairpin and from there on I couldn’t do anything. It’s very frustrating, because the car was going very well, but in the end it is what it is…
“We might be on the back foot again before the race, but we never give up. Hopefully tomorrow we have a bit more luck and can enjoy a good race – it would be good if some rain spices it all up!
“Our objective will be to finish within the top ten… We have to do some overtaking again, but I’m ready for it!”