Max Verstappen maintains that there is no animosity between himself and the stewards after a tumultuous and controversial season of racing in 2021.
The Dutchman picked up seven penalty points last year, the last of which does not expire until 12 September under the current points system introduced at the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014.
He collected the aforementioned points in Italy, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The 24-year-old was involved in a nasty collision with Sir Lewis Hamilton in Monza, before a failure to slow for yellow flags at the Losail Circuit, coupled with what the Briton perceived to be a “brake-check” in Jeddah now leave him five points from a race ban for the opening 16 rounds of the 2022 season.
After these transgressions and subsequent punishments from the stewards, the 24-year-old insists he has no bone to pick with F1’s law enforcers.
“Overall, I had a really good relationship with the stewards, even when I saw them. There is no bad blood there,” he told Motorsport-Total.com
Verstappen claimed his maiden world championship in dramatic fashion at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year when race director Michael Masi decided only to allow a limited number of lapped runners past a late Safety Car, allowing for a one-lap sprint between the Red Bull driver and Hamilton, who had been leading for much of the race.
The 20-time race winner had pitted under the caution, while his rival stayed out on old tyres as Mercedes feared that he would lose crucial track position were the race not to resume under green flag conditions.
However, Verstappen cites the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where, after Lance Stroll’s heavy collision with the barrier following a puncture, Nikita Mazepin was the only lapped car permitted to pass the Safety Car.
Therefore, the Dutchman sees nothing particularly unusual about what happened at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“In Baku this year it was the same with Mazepin. For me, it was completely normal what happened,” he explained.
“Maybe people don’t remember it, but it has happened before. They have done it before.”
Verstappen has chosen to race with the number one on his car next season – the number reserved for the reigning world champion.
The 2022 season kicks off on 20 March in Bahrain following two pre-season tests in Barcelona and Sakhir.