Mexico City, Oct -
Max Verstappen was stripped of pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday after being slapped with a three-place grid penalty, race officials confirmed.
The Dutch Red Bull driver was sanctioned for not slowing down sufficiently following a horror crash involving Valtteri Bottas near the end of Saturday's qualifying.
Verstappen's penalty means Ferrari's Charles Leclerc will start on pole for Sunday's race ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel.
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Verstappen had already done enough to secure pole earlier in qualifying before Bottas slammed into a trackside wall during a frantic finale.
Speaking after the session, Verstappen had acknowledged not slowing down after seeing the yellow flag.
Asked if he had obeyed the rules and reduced speed, he said: "It didn't look like it, did it?"
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later voiced dismay at the decision to demote Verstappen from the front row.
"Max put in a phenomenal performance throughout qualifying," Horner said.
"He was quickest in Q1, second quickest in Q2 and quickest in Q3 to achieve his second pole position of the season.
"It is a great shame that Max has lost pole position and will now start from fourth place."