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Mexico "debacle" prompted US GP Verstappen penalty - Horner

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Mexico "debacle" prompted US GP Verstappen penalty - Horner
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Oct 24, 2017, 1:45 PM

Red Bull's Christian Horner has blamed the "debacle" of last year’s Mexican Grand Prix – where a raft of post-race penalties changed the podium three times – for the rush to punish Max Verstappen in Austin.

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, celebrates as he crosses the line ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari celebrates his third position on the podium
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, celebrates with his team in Parc Ferme
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

Verstappen was stripped of his third-place finish in the United States Grand Prix after the FIA ruled he had overtaken Kimi Raikkonen by running off the track. The five-second penalty he was handed dropped him to fourth.

That decision prompted widespread criticism over the lack of consistency from the stewards, and left Verstappen himself furious that rules were ‘killing the sport’.

Red Bull boss Horner was especially angry that the snap decision meant there was no way for Verstappen to explain himself – and thinks this was a legacy of what happened in Mexico last year.

Back then, Verstappen was handed a similar post-race penalty for cutting the track and removed from the pre-podium room

But Sebastian Vettel, who moved ahead of him for third, was later penalised for moving under braking – which meant Daniel Ricciardo was eventually classified third.

Horner said: “I think they [the stewards] were desperate to get the right people on the podium, but then they jumped to a conclusion without considering all of the facts.

“After Mexico last year where there was at least one steward that was involved in that decision, and it was agreed that to avoid the debacle of Mexico - where there were three different people appearing on the podium - to take a breath. To understand and listen to the drivers.

“And I think, as I say, if you look at the consistency of decision-making, that is what is disappointing.”

The steward referred to is the FIA’s Garry Connelly, who Verstappen spoke out against in the wake of another decision going against him.

When asked if he felt that certain stewards were biased against Verstappen, Horner said: “I think that it is unfortunate that Max has been the recipient now twice that he has been in the green room and extracted.

“I think he handled that with great dignity, but I am not going to be drawn into personal issues with stewards.”

Pushed on the dignity claim, with Verstappen having called a steward an ‘idiot’, Horner replied: “I think that he has the right to express himself. In any sport, emotions run high and that is part of what sport is. If he said he was happy with that decision, I would be amazed.”

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