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Max Verstappen

Austrian GP steward details ‘maximum’ Verstappen penalty

Ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert was a steward for the Austrian Grand Prix, and has explained the reasoning behind Max Verstappen's penalty.

Verstappen Norris Austria crash
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Former Formula 1 driver and Austrian Grand Prix steward Johnny Herbert has explained  Max Verstappen's penalty relating to the Lando Norris clash was the "maximum" the FIA could award. 

Following multiple close calls in the closing stages of last weekend's race at the Red Bull Ring, Verstappen and Norris finally collided on lap 64 at the tight third corner. 

Both drivers sustained damage and pitted for repairs, although Norris' car was retired. Quickly, it was decided by the stewards that Verstappen was at fault and slapped the Dutchman with a 10-second time penalty.

At the time of the collision, Herbert revealed that Norris was about to be penalised for exceeding track limits several times, when all of a sudden the big clash occurred.

"When we were watching it, it immediately came down to whose fault was it. And it was Max's," Herbert told Coin Poker

"The interesting thing is we were just about to penalise Lando at the time because he had gone outside the track limit four times and we gave him a five-second penalty literally at the moment they came into contact. 

"We were dealing with that when the contact happened and I looked up and saw the tyre off."

Reason for 10-second time penalty

Following the Austrian GP, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella demanded that Verstappen should have been given a harsher penalty.

However, as explained by Herbert, the maximum penalty the FIA can deliver when a driver has been judged as having caused a collision, is a 10-second time penalty.

"That is the hardest one that can be applied under FIA guidelines that we operate under as stewards. McLaren have said it should have been harsher, but that is the game all teams play,” he said.

"If someone had flipped over or been barrel rolling down the track I don't know if that would have changed things. 

"Forcing a driver off the circuit or causing an incident is what it came under. That was the maximum sanction we could have taken."

Also interesting:

In the latest RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian, Sam and Nick discuss the Austrian GP and look ahead to the British GP. Max Verstappen and Lando Norris' shocking clash is a HUGE talking point, as is Toto Wolff's radio blunder!

Rather watch the podcast? CLICK HERE!

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