Max Verstappen criticised Formula One’s penalty points system after he was penalised for touching with Valtteri Bottas during Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver was deprived of a podium finish after the team was given a five-second penalty for an ‘unsafe release’ as the Dutchman jumped ahead of Bottas in the pit lane. Verstappen took advantage of a slow stop by his rival but the stewards ruled that he had failed to avoid contact with the Finn and imposed two penalty points.
Although the time penalty pushed Verstappen down to fourth place, he was more critical of the decision to punish him for the bump with Bottas. ‘I don’t think the team did much wrong. They tried to take a chance and let me go. I didn’t know Bottas was next to me, I couldn’t see him.’
On the decision to issue the penalty points, he said: ‘I don’t agree with that. I think the penalty points system is a waste of time anyway.’ Verstappen currently has seven points on his Super Licence; a driver who accumulates 12 points in a 12-month period is suspended for one race.
Fourth place is Verstappen’s best finish in Monaco, but the Dutchman claimed he could have won the race if he had managed to pass Lewis Hamilton.
‘I was much faster than Hamilton and spent half the race trying to find a gap,’ he said.
‘If I’d managed it I would have won the race. Lewis’s tyres were completely worn. He was so slow. I would have opened up a gap. My tyres were still fine. But you have to get past first.’
The stewards investigated a glancing collision between the two drivers in the latter stages of the race but decided neither was to blame. Verstappen was named driver of the day for his attacking strategy.
‘This was my best weekend’s racing here,’ he said. ‘Of course fourth place is a shame, but I enjoyed myself.’
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