Scuderia Ferrari Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen says that Max Verstappen just has to accept the penalty he received at the United States Grand Prix, even if he feels it was not justified. Red Bull racer Verstappen lost third place to Kimi Raikkonen in last Sunday’s Austin Formula 1 race, after transgressing track limits to pass the Ferrari driver on the final lap. F1’s stewards penalised Verstappen five seconds for the move, which provoked a huge backlash from Verstappen, Red Bull and many F1 fans.
Kimi Raikkonen was also critical of the stewards after receiving what he called a “pointless” yellow flag penalty in August’s Belgian Grand Prix, but says being on the receiving end of decisions seen as poor is part of the game in Formula One: “You have to accept it. Sometimes you feel it’s harsh against you, sometimes it goes your way, but that’s how it’s going to be. Everyone was saying ‘oh, Mika Salo was helping Ferrari’ but in Spa he was a steward and I got a penalty for nothing, really. I got many penalties for reasons were a bit… you feel that is nothing. But you leave it and next time you try to do differently and get a different result. They do their work the best they can. I know the feeling when it’s against you is not the greatest, but that’s life.” – the Finnsh driver explained, as reported by the Italian media earlier today.
Kimi Raikkonen said having the same group judge every race wouldn’t necessarily add consistency, and suggested other motorsport categories face similar problems: “There’s a few different stewards around and everybody has their own opinions on everything – somebody will be happy, somebody will be sad, and that’s how it’s always going to be.” – Raikkonen added – “I don’t see that changing even if we have the same guys always. Would we be happy with more consistency? No incident is the same as [an]other, so the end result is not always going to be the same because there will always be differences in the things they’re going to look at. Unfortunately, it’s part of racing – we’ll always be discussing this, but if you go to MotoGP you have a similar story there.”
The stewards were heavily criticised at Austin for not enforcing track limits consistently, and Kimi Raikkonen suggested grippy runoff areas are always going to lead to drivers taking liberties if officials aren’t strict. I think the main part of the problem is that the tracks have so much runoff areas,” Raikkonen said. “If you find a lot of grip in the run off areas, of course you’re going to go there – if you give us a little chance we start running wherever it’s the fastest way around. When I started, the circuits had kerbs and gravel, so you’d never think to go there, but every year you have more asphalt. In some places we have rules, in some corners we haven’t. Until we put gravel everywhere, it’s a never-ending story. It’s one of those discussions that goes on, like with the blue flags, forever.” – the 2007 Formula One world champion added.