Red Bull's Max Verstappen Lashes Out At Formula 1 Over Post-Race Time Penalty
Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen received a "post-race time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage by leaving the track" while passing Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen for third place on the final lap of the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday, according to Sam Hall of AUTOWEEK. After the race, Verstappen said that decisions like that "kill the sport." Verstappen -- "voted driver of the day" by F1 fans -- "recovered from his 15-place grid drop for an engine change" to finish in what he thought was third place. While "chatting with race winner Lewis Hamilton in the cool down room however, the smile suddenly vanished from the Red Bull driver’s face" as Räikkönen entered the room "and Verstappen was asked to leave." The five-second time penalty -- switching the positions of Verstappen and Raikkonen -- was handed out "because all four wheels of Verstappen’s car had left the track, cutting part of the corner," in a last-ditch bid to reach the podium. Verstappen: "The engine penalty is like it is, so we had a great race but with these stupid decisions you really kill the sport. I mean, I really hope the fans didn’t like this decision and next year they won't come." Expecting to "watch his driver walk out onto the podium," Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was "equally displeased by the decision" (AUTOWEEK, 10/22). AUTOSPORT's Adam Cooper reported Mercedes non-exec Chair Niki Lauda said, "This decision is the worst I've ever seen, he did nothing wrong. We're racing drivers, we're not on a normal road, it's ridiculous to destroy the sport with this kind of decision." Lauda recalled that it was "agreed in a meeting last year to allow drivers to race without unnecessary interference from officials." He said, "We got the stewards in to tell us how fast stewards could go during a race" (AUTOSPORT, 10/22).