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In order for the stewards to be satisfied that any such driver has complied with these requirements it must be clear that he has not attempted to set a meaningful lap time, for practical purposes any driver in a double yellow sector will have that lap time deleted.”

Verstappen lost a pole position in Mexico in 2019 when a three-place grid penalty was applied by stewards when he was found to have not slowed sufficiently for single yellow flags when Valtteri Bottas crashed. Hamilton, meanwhile, was handed the same penalty in Austria for a similar offence last year.

However, the charge of speeding under double-waved flags is more serious. McLaren’s Lando Norris was handed a five-place grid drop for such an offence at last season’s Turkish GP.

In what will be a busy pre-race for the stewards in Qatar, Verstappen’s meeting is scheduled first at 10am, with Sainz next up at 10.30am and then Bottas at 10.45am (all times GMT).

With Bottas up with Hamilton at the front, Mercedes can try to pincer Verstappen on race strategy in a race, by forcing him to stop at a time that is not optimal. It is hard to cover two cars on strategy when a team only has one.

After qualifying, Verstappen was issued with a summons by the stewards for allegedly not respecting double-waved yellow flags at the end of the final session, when Gasly was slowing with a punctured front tyre.

The hearing will be at 13:00 local time (10:00 GMT), so there will be no decision on Saturday.

If found guilty, Verstappen is likely to be handed a grid drop of in the region of three or five places.

Bottas and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz have also been summoned to see the stewards – for the slightly lesser offence of not respecting single waved yellow flags for the same incident.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was sixth from Carlos Sainz. The second Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda was eighth, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel completing the top 10.

Hamilton was quickest on both runs in the final top 10 shootout, just under 0.2secs ahead on the first run despite running wide in Turn One and making a mistake in Turn Two.

His final lap, though, was a beauty and Verstappen and Bottas had no answer.

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Hamilton said: “Yesterday was a really difficult day for me. Thursday and Friday, I wasn’t feeling too well – I had a bit of stomach ache.

“I was off [the pace] yesterday so really had to dig deep. I was here ’til midnight working late.

“We found a lot of areas I could improve, made some changes for final practice and it seemed to work.

“You have to try and carry that through into qualifying. We didn’t have any traffic and that last lap was beautiful. This track is amazing to drive – all medium and fast corners.”

Verstappen said: “Just lacking a bit of pace. It has been just a bit more tricky for us again in qualifying. Checo [Perez] is not even in Q3, so you can see we are struggling a bit more than normal. [I’m] second, so it is all to play for, still.

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