Max Verstappen has been given a drive through penalty for an unsafe release in qualifying after the engine cover flew off his Toro Rosso shortly after he left the pits.
Verstappen had an engine issue in Q1 and was only able to take to the track in the closing minutes of the session.
The engine cover flew off early in the lap, leaving debris on the track. Although it appeared that it might have been the result of ‘finger trouble’ and a mistake by the mechanics, the Dutch driver told journalists that the team knew that not all the fastening screws were done up, but had opted to send the car out anyway.
The FIA considered that decision a serious matter, especially given the current debate over debris in the light of both the Spa tyre failures and the Justin Wilson accident.
“We were really in a hurry,” said Verstappen. “Normally we wouldn’t get it done, but I was quite surprised the team did a really good job on that. Then I think the bodywork was only like 50% from all the bolts, because they thought it would hold on, as it’s quite strong. But I think it just got too much vibration out of the pit. It’s very thin carbon.”
Asked why the team was keen for him to go out he said: “Just to check the engine and see if everything was alright.”
Verstappen also has 30 places of grid penalties for engine changes.