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Verstappen questions FIA penalty points system

Verstappen questions FIA penalty points system



Verstappen questions FIA penalty points system

Verstappen questions FIA penalty points system

Max Verstappen believes the FIA penalty points system to be "a bit harsh" following the initial punishment handed to Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix.

After conducting pre-race practice starts outside of the designated area at the Sochi Autodrom, the stewards handed the six-time F1 champion two five-second penalties, and a penalty point for each infraction on his super license.

That had pushed Hamilton's tally up to 10 for the rolling 12-month period, and two away from a potential race ban.

The team, however, later proved to the stewards it was upon their instruction and confirmation that Hamilton chose the relevant places for his starts, leading to the penalty points being rescinded and Mercedes fined €25,000.

Red Bull driver Verstappen was understanding of Hamilton's frustration at the penalty, and surprised penalty points were awarded for what could be classed as a minor infringement.

"It is a bit harsh," said Verstappen "If you cause a crash it’s different – but the [time] penalty Lewis got was already painful enough.

"Two points? It’s a bit harsh. I mean, it was not correct where he stopped, but penalty points for that. I’m not sure that’s correct."

The guidelines for the practice start area lay within the events notes provided by FIA race director Michael Masi, with Mercedes arguing the instructions were ambiguous, only for the stewards to apply their interpretation.

Asked as to whether the communication between Masi and the drivers was sufficient enough, Verstappen added: "It’s a tricky one.

"Maybe I should know the rule book word by word but I don’t. Obviously, we always get guidance from the team what we’re allowed to do and what not.

"There are so many different circumstances. I think it’s tricky. For sure they [the FIA] are trying their best no doubt. I can’t say more."

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