Verstappen facing backlash over 'idiot' comment

Max Verstappen Austin Penalty Steward

Max Verstappen may find himself in hot water with the FIA after slapping an 'idiot' label on the back of one of its Stewards.

The Red Bull driver's bold and spectacular move on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of Sunday's US Grand Prix yielded nothing more than a miserable five-second penalty which demoted the Dutchman from third to fourth.

Verstappen was understandably upset by the controversial call, as were F1's fans and indeed many within the paddock.

"It's a shame we miss out on the podium as they take it away again but It's just one idiot steward who always makes the decisions up there against me," a frustrated Verstappen said after the race.

"I hope the fans don't like the decision and don't come back next year," Max added before leaving Austin.

The steward targeted by Verstappen is believed to be Aussie Garry Connelly, and the fact that he was called an idiot may lead the FIA to consider that the driver's comments have brought the sport into disrepute.

Red bull boss Christian Horner disagrees however and defends his driver's behavior.

"If Lewis Hamilton is allowed to criticise the US president, then a frustrated driver is allowed to express his opinion," Horner told Auto Motor und Sport.

Many decried the penalty handed to Verstappen, arguing it ruined in the eyes of incredulous American race fans - which F1 has been courting for years - a thrilling and spectacular ending.

Lack of consistency by the stewards has been invoked, as the race contained numerous instances of drivers exceeding track limits.

But FIA race director Charlie Whiting addressed those claims and the Stewards' decision.

"In all other cases where the drivers left the circuit, they went a longer distance. Max on the other hand cut the corner with all four wheels," he said.

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