Pierre Gasly went too wide in the penultimate corner in the final phase of qualifying on Saturday. He lost his front wing and his right front tire broke. He tried not to disrupt the session by driving as far as possible, but the driver was forced to pull over on the straight. The marshals therefore pulled out the yellow flags, initially a single and later a double yellow flag. Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas received grid penalties for not respecting the waved yellow.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner then complained about a ‘rogue marshal’ coming into action and was given an official warning. Masi also stated that the officials were right in waving the yellow flag. “The marshals have responded to the situation they envisioned,” Masi said. “Then it’s all over. When you see what was going on and what happened to Pierre, they reacted to what happened.”
Masi explained the procedure and duties of the marshals: “With all the yellow flags being displayed around the track, the officials on the ground are in charge, it is everywhere in this sport. It is also up to the marshals at the scene to determine whether they show single or double yellow, they judge what they see. That’s why they are there. The local officials have control over yellow flags, as they always have. This also applies to the light panels with the yellow flags, white flags and blue flags during training sessions and qualifications. The local officials have no control over the safety car, the virtual safety car and red flags. Those three are centrally controlled, everything else is for the local marshals.”
After qualifying, it took a long time before it could be established whether Verstappen, Bottas and Carlos Sainz, who ultimately received no penalty, had ignored the yellow flags. “If you look at where the cars were on the track, you check the images of every car in the top ten. I did that, and you also look at data and other things. That takes a lot of time and you want to make sure you do it right. When everything was clear, we presented the matter to the stewards and they dealt with it further.”