Date published: October 8 2018
Charlie Whiting has clapped back at Max Verstappen’s comments, saying the Dutchman “clearly” deserved a penalty in Suzuka.
The Red Bull man was involved in an incident with Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Verstappen locked up and ran wide at the final chicane, before coming back on the track and running the Finn off it.
The 21-year-old was given a five-second penalty by the stewards for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner, which he believes was “ridiculous”.
However, Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting is in no doubt that the stewards were right to penalise Verstappen.
“It was quite clearly a penalty because Max went off the track and rejoined the track unsafely,” Whiting said.
“You are required to rejoin safely and Kimi was there and pushed him off the track.
“So I think that was a fairly straightforward one for the stewards.”
The Dutchman was involved in an incident with the second Ferrari just a few laps later, as Sebastian Vettel tried to overtake.
The German tried to go down the inside at Spoon, but went into the side of Verstappen’s RB14, causing himself to spin.
“Seb tried to get up the inside, and it was a reasonable move,” Whiting continued.
“He got halfway alongside and Max turned in – a bit of a classic really.
“Stewards don’t normally give penalties unless they are sure that one driver was wholly or predominantly to blame.
“Opinions will vary on whether there was equal blame, but certainly no driver was predominantly to blame they felt.”
Verstappen claimed that Vettel should have been given a penalty for the incident, as it was similar to what happened in China.
However, the F1 race director brushed off those suggestions, arguing that the two incidents were completely different.
“In China he came charging down the inside into the hairpin, and almost T-boned Seb,” he added.
“I don’t think there was any similarity between those two.
“I haven’t had a look at the one from China, but my recollection from that incident as it was a very clear case of causing a collision, and I think what Sebastian was doing was a genuine attempt to overtake.
“What Max was doing in China was opportunistic at best.”