Max Verstappen has labelled Formula 1 stewards “idiots” after he lost a podium place finish at the United States Grand Prix when the Red Bull driver received a post race penalty for passing off track limits.
After starting from 16th, Verstappen stormed through the field to finish 3rd on the road at the Austin F1 race, after a bold last-lap pass on Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the final corners.
But FIA stewards dished out a five second time penalty to the Dutchman after they deemed him to have gained an unfair advantage by cutting the inside of Turn 17 and going off the circuit to make the move.
Verstappen was furious after he was told to reverse on his way to the podium, lashing out at the decision in an interview with TV.
“We had a really great race, but with those stupid decisions you really kill the sport,” said Verstappen.
“It’s one idiot steward up there which always makes decisions against me.
“At the end of the day everybody is running wide everywhere, there are no track limits. At Turn 9 you can run wide, at Turn 19 you can go off the track and nobody will say anything.
“It’s the same with [Valtteri] Bottas – I went for a move, and he continued outside the track; he came back, I really had to pass him, and nothing has been done against that while he definitely gained advantage.
“If he made the track he would have been behind me.
“It’s not good for the sport – they have to be really clear on the rules that it’s not allowed.”
The Red Bull driver was also unhappy with being unable to challenge the decision, saying that he hoped the crowd would stay away from next year’s US Grand Prix in protest.
“They decide and you can’t do anything against it, which is of course really weird,” added Verstappen. “What can we do? We cannot make up the rules.
“Everybody is loving it, it’s great action, you go five or 10cm on the inside of the kerb, everybody is running wide everywhere, they don’t say anything, and they kill the race, basically, like that.
“The crowd is loving it and then you do something like that in front of world TV – you pick up somebody from the podium and tell them to go away!
“It’s not good for the crowd. I really hope next year nobody is coming, because like this the sport doesn’t make sense.”
Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner felt the call to penalise Verstappen was inconsistent as numerous other track limits infringements at COTA had gone unpunished.
“There’s been cars going off track all day today and no action at all, so I think it would be unbelievably harsh to give Max a penalty,” Horner told Sky Sports.
“It’s wrong. We’ll have a look at it, but for me it was fair, hard racing. I think that’s a bad judgement by the stewards to have made that call.
“He did it the hard way. We’ve seen cars off track all day today, all weekend, so to penalise him at this stage, that’s not right.”