Max Verstappen leaves Dutch Grand Prix fans in 'stunned silence' after Red Bull scare

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Max Verstappen left his Dutch Grand Prix fans in “stunned silence” after his Red Bull stopped on track in a plume of smoke. The championship leader slowed on the run-up to turn four less than ten minutes into the first practice session. 

Sky Sports host Karun Chandhok revealed the crowd were left “stunned” after they saw their hero walk away from his car at his Grand Prix. The Dutchman confirmed the issue was gearbox-related over team radio moments after his car stopped. 

Ted Kravitz warned the issue could lead to “consequences” for the rest of Verstappen’s weekend. However, he later stressed the issue was a practice gearbox meaning he would not be handed any grid penalties. 

After speaking to Red Bull mechanics, Kravitz confirmed the problem was a transmission issue. Kravitz said Red Bull told Verstappen to stop the car and told him not to drive any further to protect the car.

READ MORE: FIA release Max Verstappen statement after change ahead of Dutch GP

The issue comes just hours after the FIA investigated Verstappen’s car because Red Bull made some tweaks to his gearbox. The FIA report found the car was still in compliance with the regulations and the champion was not handed any penalties. 

The report was posted by the FIA’s Technical Delegate, Jo Bauer, moments before FP1 got underway. It read: “A seal was broken on the gearbox of car number 01, driver Max Verstappen, in order to change the main shaft locking insert. 

“This was done in accordance with Article 9.1.8 of the 2022 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. 

“The forward change gear ratio pairs of the gearbox of car number 01, driver Max Verstappen, were checked and found to be in compliance with Articles 9.6.1, 9.7.3 and 9.7.4 of the 2022 Formula One Technical Regulations.”

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Verstappen took a back-of-the-grid penalty at the Belgium Grand Prix after installing a range of new engine components. However, the penalty didn’t stop him from taking his ninth win of the season as he extended his championship lead. 

The Red Bull star enjoys a commanding 93-point advantage over his nearest rival Sergio Perez. Charles Leclerc now lies 98 points beyond the Dutchman after Verstappen won in Spa and Ferrari struggled. 

The huge gap means Verstappen could clinch the title at the Singapore Grand Prix if he wins the next three races and his nearest rivals fail to score. He could also win the crown in Japan if Verstappen wins the next four races and Perez finishes second. 

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