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Masi to speak to Verstappen about 'safety'

Masi to speak to Verstappen about 'safety'
© Reuters
Race director Michael Masi has denied reports that stewards only decided to penalise Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver's controversial post-qualifying comments.

Race director Michael Masi has denied reports that stewards only decided to penalise Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver's controversial post-qualifying comments.

It is rumoured that stewards initially concluded that damage to the yellow light system was a good enough excuse for Verstappen not recognising the need to slow down for Valtteri Bottas' crash.

But then Verstappen admitted to being "aware" of the crash, and provocatively said when asked if he backed off: "It didn't look like it, did it?"

Masi, however, said it was not Verstappen's comments that triggered the investigation into the Dutchman's behaviour.

"We heard about Max's comments in the press conference after I drew the attention of the stewards to the incident," he said.

Masi rejected Verstappen's argument that Lewis Hamilton should also have been penalised for the same infraction.

"Lewis' case was very simple: where he was, there were no yellow flags. But Sebastian and Max got the flags. Vettel slowed down, Verstappen did not," he said.

Masi also said he is concerned about Verstappen's dismissal of the safety aspect of the yellow flag incident.

"Do we have to go there - to safety?" the Red Bull driver declared. "I think we know what we are doing. It's qualifying and you go for it."

Masi, who said the issue will be addressed at the driver briefing in Austin, responded: "I heard what Max said and I will talk to him about it.

"Yellow flags are on the agenda. I will discuss it one-on-one with Max but also remind the other drivers of the rules on the grounds of safety."

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Max Verstappen pictured on September 28, 2019
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Saturday's key events


ROWING
· Two-time Olympic gold medallist and comeback queen Helen Glover teams up with Polly Swan in the heats of the women's pair (12.30am-4.30am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Two-time Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock leads Team GB's charge in the men's qualification, while Rhys McClenaghan flies the flag for Ireland (2am-2pm)

SHOOTING
· The first gold medal of the Games will be awarded in the Air Rifle women's final (from 2.45am)

CYCLING
· The men's road race should be a wide-open thriller, with Team GB among those going for gold (3am-10am)

TENNIS
· Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are among the names in action on the opening day of tennis (from 3am)

SWIMMING
· Adam Peaty and many others get their Olympics campaigns underway on the opening day of swimming (11am-2.50pm)

FOOTBALL
· Team GB's women try to make it two wins from two against hosts Japan (11.30am)
· Netherlands and Brazil, who scored 15 goals between them on matchday one, face off (12pm)
· World champions USA look to bounce back from a shock opening defeat against New Zealand (12.30pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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