Austin move was to ‘avoid an accident’ – Verstappen

Max Verstappen justified putting all four wheels inside the track at Austin by the need to avoid an accident with Kimi Raikkonen.

The Red Bull Racing driver denied he had gained an advantage by diving to the extreme right at Turn 17 at COTA as he attempted a bold overtaking move on the Ferrari driver.

He also stuck by his opinion that the stewards’ call was wrong.

“The punishment was not correct because everybody was running off the track in turn 19, eight and nine, even in turn six when you were behind someone you were cutting the inside, a lot of cars were doing it,” he said.

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“I think also the fans like it a lot, it was a great move. And then they tell you you are gaining an advantage while overtaking someone.

“Well, if I was really gaining an advantage I would do it every single lap. Which you are not. So I don’t think it’s gaining an advantage.”

Ultimately, the move inside Raikkonen was to avoid contact with the Ferrari driver.

“I think at one point he realised I was trying to overtake him and he tried to close the door,” Verstappen explained.

“So you have to avoid it a bit. And then of course the Austin track gives a lot of possibility to run on the inside, like you could see the whole weekend.”

The 20-year-old also defended his reaction to the Stewards’ call, when he called one specific FIA official – which he refused to identify – an “idiot”.

“I think it’s quite normal that a get angry. Of course I could’ve used a few different words but at the end of the day I think the decision is not correct.”

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