Verstappen: Vettel didn’t ‘do anything on purpose’

Date published: June 20 2019

Max Verstappen isn't sure what happened after he hit the 'Wall of Champions' during FP2 in Canada behind his team-mate Pierre Gasly.

Max Verstappen believes the FIA stewards were wrong to punish Sebastian Vettel with a five-second penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ferrari and the FIA will be meeting on Friday to discuss the Scuderia’s right to review the penalty and, as the saga rumbles on,  so do the opinions.

Verstappen, whilst defending Vettel’s actions, has also questioned why in-race penalties exist given that they can take away all the excitement from the on-track action, just like it did at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“In general if you’re going to award a penalty maybe don’t do it in the race,” said Verstappen via Autosport in France.

“It ruins the whole excitement of Lewis catching Seb and fighting for the win.

“When you look back at it, the first mistake that happened was Seb went off the track but then he rejoined, he didn’t do anything. He was not blocking Lewis on purpose. Why they gave him the penalty was wrong.”

“He [Vettel] did everything he could to do it in a safe way.

“You go off in the lead, you know Lewis is behind by only a second and a half, so you stay on throttle and you’re managing [the car].”

Verstappen, though, could also see the incident from Lewis Hamilton’s perspective and said he too would have been on the radio to say he has been blocked off.

He added: “Lewis saw him go off. When he goes through the left he knows Seb is going to come back on and of course he’s going to drift wide, and he had to back off.

“If I had been Lewis I would have been on the radio as well saying he blocked me. You know it’s in the rules and there’s a possible penalty.”

Verstappen also had sympathy for the stewards after learning that they had received abuse on social media because of Vettel’s penalty.

He said: “I think they do realise what’s happening but sometimes they can’t give another penalty because it’s written in the rulebook exactly like that, that they have to give this penalty,”.

“Sometimes they don’t want to, but they have to. I read a few comments that some stewards they got bad language messages on Twitter and stuff which is not fair.

“They are trying to do their job in the best possible way and it’s not fair to say they did a bad job. I think it’s good to look at the rulebook and what we can change/take out.”

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