Max Verstappen clears air over 'idiot' remark after US GP penalty debacle
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen went all out against one particular FIA steward after the US Grand Prix while speaking to Channel 4 reporter in the media pen.
The two-time grand prix winner said: "I am feeling good personally, just a big shame that you miss out on the podium. They [FIA stewards] take you again – just one idiot steward which is up there, always makes the decision against me."
Verstappen was referring to former rally driver Garry Connelly, who has reportedly acted against him on numerous occasions, including last year's Mexico Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix.
Fighting with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for the final podium position on the final lap, after starting from 16th on the grid, the Dutchman went over the white line in Turn 19 while making the move on the Finn - which was deemed to be against the track limits rule.
However, Verstappen argued that many drivers including him had taken a wide line through the kerbs in that same corner during the whole weekend, along with Turn 9 - thereby, feeling let down by the FIA in terms of inconsistency in awarding penalties.
The fighting race was naturally overwhelming for Verstappen as he was seen and heard being extremely happy in the podium room, before Raikkonen came in to inform about the time penalty.
Having had few days to look into the weekend, Verstappen has come out to clear the air over his remarks on Connelly, adding he didn't want to 'hurt' anyone's feelings and that it was raw 'emotion' after the result.
"I have spoken with him [Connelly] on and off, but it doesn’t make any difference now,'" he said. "In the heat of the moment emotions run wild and then you say things you normally wouldn’t say.
"It is never my intention to hurt others, and unfortunately at that moment my emotions got the better of me. I just had a super race, but didn’t make it to the podium.
"The last three races I think we did have the fastest car. In Mexico, there are no penalties and we are able to start from the front, so let’s wait and see."
Speaking on the whole incident to Dutch TV Ziggo Sport, Verstappen added: "I haven’t seen the video’s yet and I’m also not angry. It’s a pity you’re not on the podium, but it’s about the decision which was not correct.
"But we did have a super race and I am of course very happy with that. Yesterday I was of course very angry and it wouldn’t have been normal if I hadn't been.”
On the move, he commented: "Coming out of the corner, I had a bit more grip and on the outside it’s not possible to pass, so I thought we’ll do it on the inside.
"We were very close, so I also had to go more on the inside but there are no track limits. I really never expected to get a penalty for this, because the whole weekend you were able to drive anywhere outside of the track limits.”
"I was also racing [Valtteri] Bottas and he goes wide on the outside and then rejoins in front of me. And nothing is said of that. The stewards never asked me anything and the decision had already been taken, so you cannot change anything about it.”
Verstappen's frustration is understandable as his 2017 season has been marred with retirements - in the 17 outings, he has had seven DNF's to his name, as a result of which, he is 40 points behind Raikkonen in the drivers' standings, while 69 behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
However, in the 10 races he has seen the chequered flag, he has a win, two podiums and six Top 5 finishes - allowing him to be comfortably ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez by 37 points, despite the poor reliability.