Max Verstappen hits out at 'idiot' F1 steward after US GP penalty

 Henry Young
  25th-Oct-2017

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has accused Formula One's stewards of "killing the sport" after a five-second penalty saw him demoted from the podium to fourth place at Sunday's US Grand Prix. The Dutchman fought valiantly from 16th on the grid overtaking Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen during the final lap at Austin's Circuit of the Americas.

But, with the celebratory champagne on ice, Verstappen was informed he would no longer be joining Sebastian Vettel and race-winner Lewis Hamilton on the Austin podium.
FIA officials deemed the 20-year-old had left the track while overtaking Raikkonen, thereby "gaining an advantage." The subsequent five-second penalty meant it was the Finn who got the larger share of the points.

"We had a great race, but with these stupid decisions you really kill the sport," Verstappen told broadcaster Sky Sports. "It's one idiot steward up there who always makes decisions against me. At the end of the day, everybody is running wide everywhere, there are no track limits. "I really hope the fans didn't like this decision and hopefully next year they won't come."

'Lasting advantage'

"Car 33 did leave the track, with all four wheels clearly off the track by at least half a meter," the stewards' report said, violating article 27.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

FIA rules state drivers must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times. White lines are considered to be part of the track while curbs are not. Should a car leave the circuit the driver may re-join but only when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage. Raikkonen now holds a 40-point advantage over Verstappen in the driver's standings with three races to go.

"Regarding the incident involving Verstappen, I can't comment, because I haven't seen what happened from where I was," Raikkonen said in a statement published on the Ferrari website.

'Feel robbed but it was a superb drive'

Verstappen also took to Twitter to vent his frustration at the ruling, writing he "was disappointed with the inconsistency in decisions regarding track limits this
whole weekend."

But he wasn't the only one to speak out against the penalty.

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda branded the entire situation "ridiculous," calling for a review of the sport's rules.

"This decision is the worst I've ever seen, he did nothing wrong," said Lauda. "We're racing drivers, we're not on a normal road, it's ridiculous to destroy the sport with this kind of decision."

"Obviously F1 don't know what racing is," posted Verstappen's father, Jos, who raced 106 times in F1. "Only Max gets a penalty when he crosses the line. Shame on you FIA." For 1978 F1 world champion Mario Andretti, Verstappen had little choice other than to exit the track.

"After watching videos you could equally argue Kimi forced him there," tweeted Andretti, calling it the "best overtake" of the entire Grand Prix.

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Motor Sports
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