Max Verstappen has criticized the FIA’s “ridiculous” decision to hand him a five-second penalty in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Early in the race, Verstappen ran deep into Suzuka’s final chicane whilst defending from Kimi Raikkonen and the pair made contact on the chicane’s exit as Verstappen rejoined the track. 

The FIA judged that Verstappen rejoined the track in an unsafe manner and awarded a five-second time penalty.

However, Verstappen said that decision was “really ridiculous.”

“I think I [rejoined] in a safe way,” he said.

As it happened: Verstappen collides with Kimi Raikkonen in the Japanese Grand Prix (Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool). 

Verstappen went onto finish in the race in P3, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. 

The contact allowed Verstappen to stay ahead of Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver was also passed by his teammate as a result of Verstappen’s contact. 

“Kimi took the wrong line,” Verstappen said, suggesting the Ferrari should’ve waited until Verstappen had rejoined before attacking.

Raikkonen, speaking to Sky Sports F1, said Verstappen had simply driven into him and pushed him off the track. 

The Finnish driver said the collision left him with “big damage”, which he described as being “far from ideal.”

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner talked the incident through with Sky Sports F1 after the race. He said Verstappen had “just run out of space.” 

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner thought Verstappen couldn’t have done much more in the incident (Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool). 

Horner did not feel the penalty was unfair.  

In the end, Verstappen finished just 1.376s behind second-placed Valtteri Bottas. 

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Sebastian Vettel was less than impressed with Max Verstappen’s driving. 

“If Kimi just drives on, they collide,” Vettel said. 

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