Max on Monza penalty: 'I was pretty angry during the race'

Published on 03 September 2018 by Stefan Meens

During an exclusive Skype interview with Ziggo Sport’s live TV show ‘Peptalk’, Max Verstappen looked back at  Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, in which he finished fifth. The main talking point was Max’ fight for the final podium position with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, resulting in the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver receiving a five second time penalty.

“I still don’t agree with the decision”, said Max. “Obviously I’ve seen the footage. I just defended. Of course, you try to make the space as small as possible so your turn-in to the corner is not compromised. We hit each other and maybe I could’ve given him a few millimetres more space, but he was on the white line. In hindsight it’s easy to say ‘I should’ve done this or that’, but when you arrive at a corner doing 340kp/h, it makes for a whole different decision making situation than when reviewing it on the video footage.”

Regardless, Max does not blame the rules in Formula 1 for the punishment he received. “It depends on the steward. Some will give a penalty, others won’t. I don’t think it has anything to do with the rules. We can talk about the incident for ages, but the decision has been made and I won’t lose any sleep over it.”

In addition to the five second penalty, Max also received two penalty points on his license. Not that he is bothered by that: “I’ve only got five far, so I can add another seven”, joked the youngster. “The penalty point system is a bid odd, but it is what it is.”

During the race, Max made clear over team radio, he was not going to let Bottas pass him on track, despite the Dutchman already having received a penalty: “I was pretty angry during the race, so no way he was going to get passed me. At least he knows how the rear of my car looks.”

Nevertheless, Max was happy with his pace in Monza. “The whole race we were doing well. We were in a position we didn’t expect to be in. It was better than normal, as we were too slow compared to Mercedes and Ferrari. Really, it was just a very good race and the car felt great.”

At the end of the interview, Max looked ahead to the next race on the calendar; Singapore, a track that should suit the RB14. “I know the car will be good. I just hope we can compensate for the engine; it’s not strong enough. Hopefully we stand a bit of chance in qualifying.”