Sebastian Vettel believes a yellow flag was canceled at the end of qualifying to allow Max Verstappen to complete his final fast lap.
The footage from the end of Q3 seemed to show Verstappen spotting an illuminated yellow flag panel as he exited the last corner on his final timed lap. The Red Bull pilot is now under investigation for not slowing down enough in response to the signal.
Vettel said he was happy with his performance in qualifying but believes he could have done better had he not slowed down because of the double yellow flag on the final lap.
“I’m very happy,” said the Aston Martin driver. “We beat Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren so I think we can be happy about that. It’s a shame because I saw the yellow flag in the last sector and then the yellow flag went out, I think, because Max was coming,” he said. “It was a little disappointing to have the yellow flag.”
Verstappen meanwhile improved by a tenth of a second on his final lap despite the double yellow flag, though not enough to displace Lewis Hamilton from pole position for tomorrow’s race.
“I don’t know if it was a single yellow or a double yellow, but if there’s a car parked on the track then it should be a double yellow, and double yellows are ‘abort the lap’ so I slowed down,” added Vettel. “Maybe I was the only one who did it,” he added.