Formula 1

Max Verstappen.

FIA steward reveals what Verstappen fans have done in response to five-second penalty

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Formula One officials Radovan Novak, Mika Salo and Garry Connelly caused a major stir after penalising Max Verstappen with a five-second penalty at the US Grand Prix.

The 20-year-old Red Bull driver overtook Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 16 of the final lap to take third place and cap a stunning climb from 17th.

Just as he was about to head onto the podium, Verstappen learned that he was deemed to have gained an advantage by having all four wheels off the track when overtaking Raikkonen.

The punishment sparked outrage in the paddock and amongst F1 fans on social media.

Throughout the race drivers had been running wide at various corners in Austin without being penalised.

The decision to punish Verstappen did not go down well with the young Dutch driver, who fuelled the fire by slamming the "one idiot steward" for penalising him.

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

"I get a five-second penalty and a penalty point - but for what? At the end of the day, everybody is running wide.

F1 Grand Prix of USA

"The crowd is loving it and then you do something like that on world TV. The way they did it is unbelievable. The sport makes no sense. They kill the race like that."

Mika Salo, who was once a Formula One driver himself, has revealed the unacceptable behaviour by Dutch fans in the aftermath of his decision.

He told SuomiF1: “I have received death threats, mainly from Holland.

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“The change in the Wikipedia article was a fun joke, but threats to me and other members of the jury should not be tolerated.”

Salo also reiterated that his decision to punish Verstappen was the correct one.

“It was a punishment, but the rules are rules.

“They clearly state that if the driver gets the benefit of rectification, he will be followed by a penalty.

F1 Grand Prix of USA - Qualifying

“Max was ahead of Kimi Raikkonen behind, but after the curve, thanks to the correction ahead of Ferrari. The situation is clear.”

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