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

    Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen


      Mighty Max: Verstappen's desire to win


    Mighty Max: Verstappen's desire to win 03:44

    Story highlights

    • Verstappen hit with five-second penalty for leaving track at US GP
    • Red Bull driver demoted from podium to fourth place
    • Dutchman accuses steward of making wrong decision and 'ruining the sport'

    (CNN)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.
      Latest F1 World Championship standings

      1 - Lewis Hamilton (331 points)

      2 - Sebastian Vettel (265 points)

      3 - Valtteri Bottas (244 points)

      4 - Daniel Ricciardo (192 points)

      5 - Kimi Raikkonen (163 points)

      6 - Max Verstappen (123 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 kerbs 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.
      Raikonnen now holds a 40-point advantage over Verstappen in the drivers 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.
      My First Car: Red Bull's Max Verstappen
      My First Car: Red Bull's Max Verstappen


        My First Car: Red Bull's Max Verstappen


      My First Car: Red Bull's Max Verstappen 01:41

      '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.
      "It is what fans want to see," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, praising his driver's bold racing style. "If you don't want cars to go there, put a bigger kerb or put some gravel, or something else there.
      "What is annoying is the lack of consistency. Where do you draw the line? For fans, for casual viewers, it needs to be clear.
      "It would be incorrect to say that the stewards favor one team over another; the issue is just that the decision was poor."
      The FIA did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.