The United States GP stewards “had no choice” but to penalise Max Verstappen for his final lap overtake on Kimi Raikkonen, according to this week’s F1 Report panel.
Verstappen thought he had claimed the final podium position after passing Raikkonen down the inside of Turn 16.
However, the stewards deemed the Dutchman had “gained a lasting advantage” by having all four wheels off the track and handed him a five-second time penalty post-race, leaving him to be unceremoniously ejected from the cool down room.
Verstappen said these “stupid decisions” were “killing the sport”, but former F1 drivers Perry McCarthy and David Brabham felt the 20-year-old had to be punished given the “shortcut” he took.
“As much as I hate to say it, I don’t think they had any choice but to penalise Max for it,” McCarthy said on the F1 Report, which first airs on Sky F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday.
Watch the dramatic events unfold as Max Verstappen overtakes Kimi Raikkonen on the last lap for third place, picks up a five-second penalty and is then demoted unceremoniously from the cool-down room
But McCarthy admitted he was torn on the punishment.
“It’s such a difficult one. The racer inside me says ‘No, great move, intuitive, spontaneous, get it at all costs, go, go, go’ and I love that about Max,” he said.
“The only thing was he cut off a lot of the circuit there. Kimi was there ready to turn in and Max has just gone ‘now, now, now’ which is fantastic but he was completely off the track.”
Brabham added: “If I had someone behind me and we were going for a podium and they did that, I’d be pretty upset that he shortcutted to gain a position. If you go through a chicane and overshoot it and you pass somebody, you have to let them back through.
“Everyone got such a high from it and we got dragged down by these rules and regulations. If you look at the inside of that corner, there is a huge amount of space there for any car to go across. I’m asking ‘why is that not grass?’ Why is it there so someone can do that and cause these problems?”
Max Verstappen blasts Formula 1 stewards for their decision to take away his United States Grand Prix podium finish
What added to the debate around the penalty, and Verstappen and Red Bull’s anger, was that throughout the race drivers had been running wide at various corners without punishment.
But despite regular calls for consistency in decisions, Brabham believes that will never come.
“It’s very much a grey area. Everyone is screaming there’s no consistency, but you’re never going to have consistency. I think we all have to accept that,” he said.
“It’s human nature, nothing is ever consistent and your mood changes and you’ll see things differently.
“Mika Salo [one of the stewards in Austin] is not emotionally attached to the race, he’s looking at the rules and regulations so has a different mindset. His mood is very different to Christian Horner who can’t believe what’s just happened. They’re two different perspectives.”
Paul di Resta is at the Skypad to review the decision to penalise Max Verstappen for his overtake on Kimi Raikkonen
Don’t miss the F1 Report: US GP Review on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday as former F1 drivers Perry McCarthy and David Brabham join Natalie Pinkham in the studio to review the main talking points from Austin.
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