Ted Kravitz sparks controversy as he queries Max Verstappen penalty

Max Verstappen was punished by the stewards, but not everyone in the F1 paddock believes it was required.

Veteran Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz has questioned whether Max Verstappen’s five-second time penalty at the Las Vegas Grand Prix was necessary, with him believing that it was harsh.

Verstappen started last weekend’s race in P2 alongside Charles Leclerc, who was on pole.

It was the Red Bull driver who made the better start and pulled alongside the Monegasque, before diving up the inside at the first corner.

However, due to a severe lack of grip, Verstappen forced himself and Leclerc off the circuit but still gained the race lead.

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Leclerc complained over the radio, whilst the stewards immediately placed the incident under investigation.

Red Bull instructed Verstappen not to give the position back, although he later received a five-second time penalty.

He served this during his first pit-stop which demoted him to ninth; however, it was still the Dutchman who went onto claim victory.

After the race, Kravitz questioned if Verstappen needed to be penalised, with him viewing it as being “hard racing”

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“If we go to how Max Verstappen did it, well, it began with a very stout defence against Charles Leclerc on lap one,” said Kravitz in Ted’s Notebook.

“Now you can look at this two ways. The stewards decided to look at it in a way that merited a five-second penalty for forcing another driver off the track. I don’t know, I’ve kind of seen that before. I sort of felt that that was sort of hard racing.

“You go down, you’ve got somebody on the outside, and then you’re kind of walking him gently to the outside, compromising him while then you cut in and they go off. Is that not allowed anymore? I mean, yes, it was firm. It did cause another driver to go off.”

Verstappen actually admitted after claiming his 18th win of 2023 that the penalty was the “right call”, as he didn’t mean to force Leclerc off the circuit.

“I didn’t mean to push Charles off the track, but I couldn’t slow down. Looking back, the penalty was probably the right call,” Verstappen admitted after the race.

Leclerc also gave his view that the punishment Verstappen got was the “right penalty”, although the Ferrari driver admitted that he would’ve rather the FIA have informed the Dutchman to give the position back.

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“Max already came to me and explained the situation,” Leclerc explained.

“Obviously, it was on, over the limit. I think the five-second penalty is deserved. It was tight. I still tried to push off the track but it was so low grip. It’s the way it is.

“He has been penalised, he paid the penalty and I think that was the right penalty to give… It would be better for the FIA to ask to give the place back because I think there is quite an advantage to take care of the tyres when you have free air.”