McLaren teammates Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris have questioned the nature of the penalty awarded to George Russell in the United States Grand Prix Sprint.
On Lap 3 in Austin, Russell attempted to pass Piastri by going around the outside of the exit of Turn 16 and ran off the track as he made the move stick on the slow McLaren.
However, the pass was completed off the track, with drivers sometimes invited to let a driver back past in similar circumstances or risk a five-second penalty.
Russell could not let Piastri back through as Pierre Gasly had also passed the Australian, before getting hit with a five-second time penalty.
The use of such penalties by stewards has been called into question recently after drivers have been incurring them only to pull out more than a five-second gap to the car behind, thus negating the effect of the penalty - as Russell did in Italy after a similar move on Esteban Ocon.
"I wasn't really looking [at Russell] as he was behind me, but I've seen the replay and George just accelerates off the track and goes past," Piastri told media including RacingNews365.
"I don't think you could even get close to calling that a 50-50. The five-second penalty made a bit of difference to his race, but not much, but it is the kind of thing you can do when you are in a faster car.
"The situation was quite blatant, and I feel like swapping the cars back around shouldn't be that difficult in those circumstances.
"If you only get a five-second penalty in the race, it is going to be beneficial for people with quicker cars so maybe some people have it premeditated, but it definitely sets a precedent for the kind of penalty you will get for doing that."
Viewed by others:
Piastri and Norris critical
Adding his thoughts and pointing to Russell's position as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, Norris explained: "What I find silly about it is that these things have been brought up so many times in drivers' briefings,"
"It is a point that George himself brought up in Barcelona where the fact that you can commit to the outside line of Turn 1, overdo it and get past two cars by going off, like in Russia, and prepare yourself for it.
"I'm pretty sure that we came up with the conclusion that people are going to do it on purpose, and we discussed this exact thing, that if you do it easily, if you are quicker, you will easily pull away five seconds.
"In Monaco for example, if you cut the chicane, they [stewards] came and said you should give the position back, but now they've set a precedent of not even having to do that.
"I don't know if they asked George to do it or not, and he didn't want to, but they've set the precedent of easily being able do that.
"If I am fighting with a Ferrari [in the race], and just commit to doing it, it is five seconds, so I think we have a lack of consistency.
"It was quite clear in the guidelines of what they were going to do when such a thing happened, but clearly not.
"If someone does it in the race, they can't get a worse penalty."