Verstappen at odds with Japanese GP stewards' calls


Max Verstappen was happy with his P3 finish in Suzuka but a lot less content with how the Japanese Grand Prix stewards ruled on two incidents involving the Dutchman and both Ferrari drivers.

Early on in the 53-lap race, Verstappen missed his entry into the chicane and regained the track alongside Kimi Raikkonen, pushing the Finn off the circuit.

Later on, after an early safety car restart, the Red Bull driver was challenged by Sebastian Vettel when the German lunged into the inside of his rival at Spoon, a move which resulted in a contact between the two drivers and sent the Ferrari spinning.

In the first instance, Verstappen was given a 5-second time penalty and a single penalty point on his license as the stewards had ruled that he had "cut the chicane and rejoined track on the racing line in turn 17 and in the process collided with car 7."

"The first one I totally don't agree with," Verstappen said after the race.

"I locked up and I could easily have cut the track, I made my best effort to get back on track. And he chose to go around the outside, he could have waited for me to understeer wide.

"So I don't know why I got a penalty. It is a bit stupid."

"If I get a 5-second penalty for that, then next time I'll just cut the track and do like Valtteri.

"I was just trying my best to still make the corner and not make it look like I locked and just cut the corner. I know what to do now next time."

The stewards took a neutral view on Verstappen's later encounter with Vettel, deeming the collision a racing incident. However, the Dutchman believed it had been a case of bad judgement on the part of his opponent.

"With Seb, it's just not a corner where you can overtake," he said, while an unrepentant Vettel obviously begged to differ.

"For me it was a bit similar to China this year where I made the mistake. He was a lot faster and could have easily overtaken me on the next lap.

"Of course we didn't spin off the track [like in China], but he drove into the side of my car.

"He could have been a bit more careful. Even the most experienced drivers make mistakes."

In the closing stages of the race, Verstappen did his best to snap at the heels of Valtteri Bottas, although he knew that overhauling the Mercedes driver would be a challenge.

"I think he was pushing, because otherwise you don't go off the track," said the 21-year-old.

"But you can't really follow that close, and then we don't really have the top speed. We 're were just trying to be as close as possible in case with a mistake or whatever. Still very happy to be third."

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