Verstappen unchanged on view over Austin penalty, but regrets comments

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Max Verstappen has not changed his view on the penalty that denied him a podium finish in last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, but admitted on Thursday he regretted his choice of words in criticizing one of the Formula 1 race stewards.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on Sunday, having completed the fightback with a last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen.

However, the overtake was immediately scrutinized by the stewards at COTA, who deemed Verstappen to have cut part of a corner by riding over the kerb, and handed him a five-second time penalty.

Verstappen made his anger over the penalty clear after the race, telling British TV that it was “one idiot steward” who always targeted him, thought to be Garry Connelly, who has previously sanctioned the Red Bull driver.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, Verstappen stressed his view on the penalty had not changed, but admitted he was wrong to use the words he did.

“I think after a race the emotions run high, especially when you’ve been taken off a podium which I think I deserved,” Verstappen said.

“I think the punishment was not correct because everybody was running off the track in Turn 19, 8 and 9, even in Turn 6 when you were behind someone you were cutting the inside – a lot of cars were doing it.

“Also the fans I think were loving it, it was a great move and then they tell you that you’re gaining an advantage while overtaking someone. If I was really gaining an advantage I would do it every single lap, which you are not, so I don’t think it was gaining an advantage.

“Like I said, a lot of other people did it as well, they were cutting the inside of the corners and then I am the only one who was getting penalized, which I think is of course not correct.

“I could have used different words, for sure. But like I also said I was angry at that time because I think it was not correct and I’ve already said all the reasons why I think it was not correct.

“So you also have to understand a bit my point of it, but of course the words were not correct. I can’t change that right now and it was not meant for anyone.

“I was not trying to offend anyone, otherwise I would have named them by name if I wanted to offend someone.”