Max is mad after penalty at US GP

Verstappen vents ire after he's stripped of podium place

24 October 2017 - 07:29
LIKE LIGHTNING: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Olympic champion Usain Bolt after the US Grand Prix.
LIKE LIGHTNING: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Olympic champion Usain Bolt after the US Grand Prix.
Image: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Max Verstappen accused Formula One stewards of killing the sport and suggested fans could stay away in protest after he was stripped of a podium place at the US Grand Prix on Sunday.

With Red Bull boss Christian Horner and past champions joining in the outcry, the 20-year-old Dutch driver vented his feelings.

"The engine penalty is what it is," said Verstappen, who started 16th after being demoted for power-unit changes. "We had a great race but with those stupid decisions you kill the sport.

"I hope the fans do not like this decision and next year they do not come." Verstappen had thrilled the crowd with a last lap overtaking move on Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to take third place and was voted driver of the day by fans.

He was then demoted to fourth, while waiting with race winner Lewis Hamilton and second-placed Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in the pre-podium room, for exceeding the track limits to gain an advantage.

As the driver headed back down the stairs, team principal Horner let rip at what he saw as inconsistent behaviour by the stewards who had not punished others for similar offences during the race.

"It is an appalling decision. They have robbed all of the fans here. It was a great grand prix and they have screwed it up," he said.

 Mario Andretti, the 1978 world champion, also chimed in: "After watching videos could equally argue Kimi forced him there. Best overtake of #USGP. Feel sorry for @Max33Verstappen you got robbed," he said.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, himself a triple world champion, also agreed, even as his team celebrated their fourth successive constructors' championship.

Mercedes on Sunday joined a select group of teams to have won the Formula One constructors' championship for four years in a row.

Hamilton, who won at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday for the fifth time in six years, has won nine times this year and is a fingertip away from his own fourth championship.

His title looks sure to come in Mexico next weekend, barring misfortune.