Max Verstappen hit with grid penalty for Qatar Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has been hit with a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix, it has been confirmed.

The Red Bull driver was set to start second on the grid alongside title-rival Lewis Hamilton, who stormed to pole position to gain the upper-hand for Mercedes in Doha.

Now Hamilton has a chance to close the gap to Verstappen in the drivers’ championship with the Dutchman starting seventh at the Losail International Circuit.

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Verstappen drops back as a result of an incident at the end of qualifying, where a puncture for the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly caused confusion on track and he did not slow down sufficiently under double-waved yellow flags.

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The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas – who qualified third – was hit with a similar punishment, only taking a three-place penalty as he failed to slow under single-waved yellows.

Verstappen holds a 14-point lead in the standings over Hamilton with three races, including Sunday’s, remaining.

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