Sebastian Vettel has labelled the reprimand he was given for missing the national anthem ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix "a bit of a joke".
Vettel left the grid for a toilet break while Ferrari mechanics attempted to fix a spark plug problem that ultimately caused Vettel to retire from the race four laps after the start.
Since it was already the Ferrari driver's second reprimand of the 2017 season - after he'd crossed the pit exit line at Monaco earlier this year - the Suzuka decision by the FIA stewards means that he is edging closer to a 10-place grid penalty.
Vettel would be handed a penalty for three reprimands, two of which must be for driving offences.
The German thinks the stewards could have been more sympathetic.
"I didn't understand it," Vettel said when asked about the incident on Thursday in Austin.
"Of course I was a bit late, but for half of the anthem I was there. I was surprised when I heard that I was reprimanded for it.
"The rule is clear, but well... Maybe I should have pushed aside the guy ahead of me and not wait until he was done on the toilet! A bit of a joke, but okay."