Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took aim at the FIA Stewards after his penalty at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, believing he was unfairly punished.
The Dutch driver was hit with a five-second penalty for aggressive driving following his collision with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas at the Rettifilo chicane.
The 20-year-old was defending third place from the Finn and clipped the side of the Mercedes as he squeezed him under braking for the chicane, forcing Bottas across the run-off area at the first corner.
When told of the penalty over the team radio, the Dutchman was furious.
“Don’t worry about it? It’s f—ed,” Verstappen replied. “I gave him space! They’re doing a great job of killing racing, honestly.”
Verstappen feels the Stewards’ decision was influenced by an earlier incident when he was warned against cutting the same corner to stay ahead of Bottas.
“We were in a position we didn’t expect to be, and I think I gave him a car’s width of space on the left of me,” Verstappen said after the race.
“And then he basically clipped my wheel and had to go straight.
“So I don’t agree with [their decision], but maybe they took the penalty because in the middle of the race when he first tried to take me, I went a bit wide, maybe that’s why they gave it to me.
“But even then, I think it’s not fair, because they gave it straight away. It’s a shame, but looking at the positives, the car was working really well.”
Bottas, however, not surprisingly agreed with the Steward’s decision.
“The first time I tried (pictured above), I think he cut the chicane,” Bottas said.
“The second time I was going to the outside, as he was defending on the inside and there’s a very clear rule that says you have to leave a car’s width on the outside but he didn’t so we touched.
“He got a penalty for that, which for me is fair enough.”
The penalty ended Verstappen’s chances of a podium finish, relegating him to fifth and rounding out a disappointing weekend for the Milton Keynes squad which also saw teammate Daniel Riccardo retire with a clutch issue.
Image via Ason Martin Red Bull Racing
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