Max Verstappen has suggested a lack of affection from the FIA race stewards and quipped "I never get presents from them" after his grid penalty for the Qatar Grand Prix.
The championship leader shrugged off the punishment to clinch second place behind rival Lewis Hamilton and claim the fastest lap bonus point in the process to hold his advantage at eight points.
The five-place penalty was given after a controversial end to qualifying, with Verstappen adjudged to have disrespected a double-waved yellow flag despite a distinct lack of clarity on FIA GPS and signalling channels.
Reacting to the penalty post-race, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1: "Well no surprises there, I knew already [Saturday night] that I never get presents from them [the FIA] so it is ok.
"But in the end, once I knew we were starting seventh, I was just very motivated to move ahead and that is exactly what we did.
"We had a good first lap and then after five laps we were second again and I just tried to keep the gap small throughout the whole race so they couldn't do an extra stop.
"Again, we had a fastest lap at the end so happy with that."
Asked if he genuinely believed he was hard-done-by by the stewards, he replied: "I don't want to talk about it too much because I don't want to give anyone the pleasure to talk about it even more but it is, of course, not great."
The penalty came during a weekend shrouded by political intrigue with off-track battles taking place between Red Bull and Mercedes team principals Christian Horner and Toto Wolff.
Horner was handed an official warning by the FIA after his response to Verstappen's penalty contravened the International Sporting Code, but asked if the off-track drama was distracting, the Dutchman replied: "Racing is not complicated.
"There is a brake pedal and a throttle pedal and a steering wheel.
"There is a lot of show around but as drivers, we know what to do and anything else around it, that's not really relevant for me, I just have to focus on my job."
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