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OCTOBER 23, 2017

Lauda to seek out Whiting after Verstappen penalty

Niki Lauda says he will speak to F1 race director Charlie Whiting after Max Verstappen's controversial expulsion from the podium in Austin.

The Red Bull driver was only told while he was in the post-race preparation room on Sunday that Kimi Raikkonen would be taking the final podium step instead.

Stewards had given Verstappen a penalty for cutting a corner while overtaking Raikkonen.

The Dutchman and his father Jos were furious.

Max, 20, called a steward who he thinks is a regular penalty-giving offender a "moron", while his dad Jos raged at the FIA.

"If it's true that Charlie Whiting is behind the decision, then he should immediately resign," the former Minardi driver told Ziggo Sport Totaal.

Red Bull chiefs Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko were also furious, saying many other drivers also exceeded track limits in Austin without being punished.

Even their counterpart at Mercedes, F1 legend Niki Lauda, agrees.

"Last year, when the stewards were punishing everything, we had a long meeting with Charlie Whiting and said 'Let the racing drivers be racing drivers'," he told German television.

"I don't understand why we have now gone back to the stone age with something that is bad for the sport," Lauda added.

One of the stewards on duty in Austin, former F1 driver Mika Salo, agreed with Lauda when he said enforcing painted white lines to delineate the track is not ideal in F1.

But the Finn told Ilta Sanomat newspaper that there was "nothing else" the stewards could do in this case.

"Other drivers who did it did not benefit, and this was the only situation that came before us for examination," Salo insisted.

"Max drove a great race, but the last move was just too much," he said.