US GP: Red Bull slam penalty that denies Max Verstappen podium
"It's unbelievably harsh to give Max a penalty for that"; Max slams "stupid" decision; Father Jos launches social media tirade
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 23/10/17 10:24am
Red Bull have slammed the United States GP stewards for denying Max Verstappen a podium with a last-lap penalty, labelling the decision "unbelievably harsh" and "wrong".
Verstappen himself has also criticised the decision while his father, Jos, has launched a series of angry tweets aimed at the FIA, Formula 1's governing body.
"We had a great race but with those stupid decisions you really kill the sport," Verstappen said.
And Verstappen Snr was even more irate with the stewards, posting on Twitter: "This is bull****. Sorry. This sucks.
"Shame on you FIA. Obviously F1 don't now what racing (i)s. Only Max gets a penalty when he cross the line Nobody else the (w)hole weekend."
The 20-year-old had enjoyed a storming comeback drive in Austin after starting the race in 16th, and the celebrations were wild in the Red Bull garage after the Dutchman overtook Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages.
However, though an elated Verstappen entered the cool-down room with race-winner Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, he was soon pulled out by the FIA and told of a five-second time penalty.
Race stewards adjudged that the 20-year-old had completed his pass on Raikkonen with all four wheels off the track at Turn 17.
And Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was far from impressed with the verdict.
"There's been cars going off track all day today and no action at all so I think it's unbelievably harsh to give Max a penalty for that," the Red Bull team boss told Sky F1's Ted Kravitz. "It's wrong, it's wrong.
"For me, it was fair, hard racing and I think that's a bad judgement by the stewards to have made that call. We've seen cars off track all weekend so to penalise him at this stage is not right."
Verstappen had already overtaken Valtteri Bottas for fourth after a second pit-stop before closing in on Raikkonen, and was voted Driver of the Day despite being denied a third successive podium.
"I really hope the fans didn't like this decision and hopefully next year [those decisions] won't come," Verstappen added.
"Everybody is running wide, At Turn 9 you can go wide and Turn 19 you can go off the track and nobody would say anything. It's not good for the sport. They have to be really clear in the rules that it's not allowed anywhere."
Sky F1's Paul di Resta, however, felt the right call was made as Verstappen gained an advantage by cutting a corner.
"Kimi does exactly what he needs to do so Max couldn't go off up the inside," said the Williams reserve driver as he analysed the move on the SkyPad. "He's on the racing line.
"It was a great race from Max but I think the right decision has been made."
Who made the decision?
The race stewards at this weekend's race in Austin were Garry Connelly, Radovan Novak, Mika Salo and Dennis Dean.
Verstappen and Horner was particularly disgruntled as he claimed the end result was almost identical to last year's Mexican GP, when Connelly was also a steward.
"It's just one idiot steward who always makes the decisions up there against me," said the driver.
Horner says he was told - after Verstappen was penalised and similarly dropped from third to fourth - that stewards would give the driver a right of reply if it happened again.
"After Mexico, no coincidence, same steward by the way - they said they wouldn't make that hasty decision again," Horner added.
"They said that they'd listen, they'd look at all the facts, they'd listen to the drivers and then make a decision. What's happened? They've made an instant decision and I think it's a shocking decision for robbing the fans of this podium.
"They didn't even listen to Max's argument. In other instances they would have had the drivers in and listened to both sides. Maybe they would have come to the same conclusion, but at least give them the right of reply.
"The drivers are encouraged to race, and we finally put on a great show in America. How on earth do you explain to the fans that the guy who just made that pass won't be on the podium today?"
The stewards' decision
Fact: Car 33 left the track in turn 17, gaining a lasting advantage
Decision: Five-second time penalty (1 penalty point awarded)
Reason: The Stewards examined video evidence and concluded that car 33 did leave the track, with all four wheels clearly off the track by at least half a metre, and overtook car 7 in doing so. The driver did gain a lasting advantage.
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