Verstappen: Seb penalty was a small bit of justice
It was a classic TV moment when Max Verstappen realised, in the pre-podium room at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, that he was actually not supposed to be there and in fact at that point Sebastian Vettel was third while the Dutch teenager was demoted to fifth due to a five second penalty he received from the FIA race stewards.
Vettel celebrated with gusto on the spectacular podium, in the stadium arena, but it was Verstappen and the Red Bull team who had the last laugh on the day as Vettel was also penalised, the ten seconds punishment he received dropped him to fifth, promoting Verstappen to fourth and Daniel Ricciardo to third.
Verstappen commented afterwards, “I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalise Seb. It was clearly a wrong move which has been punished according to the rules.
“As long as we can stick to the rules every week then we won’t have the frustration we felt after the race. I’m really happy for Daniel to get on the podium after a strong drive and it’s a great result for the team.”
Verstappen also felt that his mistake on lap 68 which forced him to skip across the grass and with it cut the track in Turn, was similar to the incident race winner Lewis Hamilton had on the first lap.
Verstappen explained, “When I went off the track towards the end I think it was pretty similar to Lewis on lap one, corner one. He went off and I felt he gained an advantage, I didn’t even gain an advantage, I was ahead going into braking and when I came back on the track I was the same distance in front so I don’t understand the penalty.”
Meanwhile Red Bull boss Christian Horener predicts that Vettel’s radio rant – where he insulted race director Charlie Whiting (report here>>>) and also had a good go at the Red Bull drivers – will result in some form of penalty or sanction.
“Of course in the heat of the moment there’s always going to be emotion from the drivers,” said Horner “In other sports, I’m sure if football players had microphones on their language would be an awful lot bluer than what’s going out on the track.”
“But in any sport what you can’t do is give abuse to the referee, essentially. So I would be surprised if that went unreprimanded.”
“It is not an attribute that he had when he drove for us. Obviously his frustration is vocalising, and everyone can hear that,” added Horner.