- Pic via @F1 on Twitter

Max Verstappen loses podium for exceeding track limits – was he robbed?

Max got the boot from the cool-down room. It was a bit awkward, too.

3y ago

Max Verstappen drove a brilliant U.S. Grand Prix, climbing from 16th on the grid to fight for a spot on the podium in the closing stages.

A bold last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen seemed to have secured him a fantastic result. He used all the circuit and more to overhaul the Finn, but when he took the chequered flag he looked to have done enough.

In fact, Max made it all the way to the cool-down room after the race, chatting over his meteoric rise to the top-three with Sebastian Vettel.

Then, Kimi arrived.

Unknown to the Dutchman, he had been placed under investigation for his move. The stewards moved to slap him with a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, enough to relegate him to P4 and bump Kimi back on to the podium.

Max was still beaming when Kimi shuffled in, and had to be politely informed that he had a penalty. He actually took it better than we might have expected, quickly leaving without punching a single piece of furniture. Speaking on TV afterwards he singled out – but would not name – one steward who he believes is making calls against him. All told, the 20-year-old was quite clam.

His dad Jos was less chill on social media, however, posting a series of angry tweets.

Christian Horner chose his words more carefully, but was just as frustrated as Jos.

"It's wrong. We'll have a look at it, but for me it was fair, hard racing. I think that's a bad judgement by the stewards to have made that call,” the Red Bull team boss told Sky Sports F1.

“[Max] did it the hard way. We've seen cars off track all day today, all weekend, so to penalise him at this stage, that's not right."

And no less a star than Mario Andretti also came out on Max's side...

Clearly it was a close call – but was it the right one?

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Comments (90)

  • I am a fan of Max, but I agree with the FIA in their decision to give a penalty. I think people don’t realize the difference between cutting a corner and extending track limits on corner exit. I think the decision was definitely a close call, but the fact he used it for a passing advantage should be taken into account. During Hamilton’s pole lap, he did EXTEND track limits but it did not shorten, or cut the track which is a different issue. Certain tracks have different rules about this, but as for COTA, there is probably a restriction on corner exit that could differ. It’s a similar issue to eau rouge. There is space to leave the track on the crest of the hill but if you do it while passing, it’s an illegal overtake. While the decision is polarizing, there is a reason and justification for it, considering the FIA do that for a living

      3 years ago
  • Completely the right choice. Max took a shortcut, though still an incredibly impressive drive. Yes some exemptions to track limits were permitted (2 corners I believe including no.19), they were approved during the weekend by F1, and all drivers (including Max) agreed that they were places where running wide would actually cost you time. In Max's case he cut the corner by over 2ft when there was space on the track for his car, and made a distinct advantage from it. A driver may run over the lines a couple of times in a race and gain a few fractions of a second before they get penalised; but Max went too far at 1 time and it had a definitive affect on the result by gaining a place. Even if it hadn't been for a position it was such a blatant cut that he would have been penalised anyway. Still a great drive.

      3 years ago
  • Was it a good overtake? Totally. Was the penalty correct? Yep. It is clear in the rulebook, if you exceed the white line with 4 wheels, you'll get a penalty. Sorry guys, I would have love to see him 3rd today but it is clear on onboard cam.

      3 years ago
  • Fits andretti yapping about?!?

    If Kimi forced him there he defended his line, it's not his job to let max through. If max decided to back off fine, he didn't he went full bore and cut the corner. No gap went for it anyway.

    Put it this way, would he have gone for the pass in Monaco, no coz he'd be scraping his face on the wall. I'm a fan of Kimi but a bigger fan of Max, but all four wheels off the track before a pass is gaining an advantage fair and square

      3 years ago
  • ........rules are rules, and the circuit is clearly delineated by the rumble strips. I must admit Vettel has been just as guilty over the years and not penalised. There may be something to a bit of a vendetta going on.

      3 years ago