Max Verstappen drove a hell of a race Sunday in the United States Grand Prix. From 16th place on the grid to a podium finish. That’s why Max Verstappen is the hottest commodity in Formula One and why Red Bull locked him up until 2020.
However, this is Formula One and the FIA is a thing. Max may have won driver of the day but the stewards assessed a penalty for the last lap pass. Max dove under the falling Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap, a pass that was universally applauded.
Steward Garry Connelly did not view it as a fantastic pass. Instead, he viewed it as a rules violation. Garry Connelly is a real stickler for the rules whenever he is in the steward’s room. Last year in Mexico he made a questionable call against Max as well.
Turn 19 was the scene of the crime. Below is a still shot from on board Max. The justification for the 5-second penalty was he went all 4 tires inside of the curb. Pretty meaningless when you think about everyone doing it all weekend. Just because it was a pass doesn’t make it more wrong than guys doing it to save time.
That Wasn’t Even The Worst Part
While the penalty is bad and hard to justify. How the FIA told Max was even worse. Verstappen was in the cool down room chatting up Sebastian Vettel, drinking water and fitting the 3rd place hat for the podium celebration. It was a joyous time.
Then Kimi Raikkonen comes popping in and looks at Max. Who looked at Kimi and did some simple math. Laughed and just walked out of the room. Very reminiscent of a poorly acted cheating scene in a movie. Beyond awkward situation and a shameful move on the FIA’s part.