The incident in United States Grand Prix in 2017 raised quite an uproar in the Formula 1 fanatics. Recently Garry Connelly, the steward, agreed to penalize Max Verstappen was a hard decision for him in the 2017 US Grand Prix.
What happened in the 2017 US Grand Prix?
The Belgian-Dutch driver was third on the podium in the Austin race. He passed the Kimi Raikkonen in the last lap. But nothing goes away from the steward’s eagle eye. He immediately spotted Verstappen going off the circuit to gain an advantage over Raikkonen.
As soon as the race ended, the Dutchman received a five-second penalty. Kimi Raikkonen driving for Ferrari got a third place on the podium. The Red Bull driver was fourth in the race.
Was it hard for Connelly to penalize Max Verstappen?
Recently, Connelly was present in a steward’s panel of an FIA web conference. He still thinks penalizing the Dutchman was the toughest decision in his career.
Garry Connelly said, “In deciding we must demonstrate the responsibility to consider not just the side of the alleged offender,
“It’s important to think about those who’ve been impacted as well. And I want to give a classic example here that sticks in my mind and my fellow stewards at that event.
“It was the 2017 US Grand Prix, it was the last lap of the race. And Max Verstappen performed a brilliant move, an amazing move, on Kimi Raikkonen. And he overtook him on I think it was the third last turn.
“We had Mika Salo as our driver steward. And Mika is extremely quick on seeing what’s going on, on a race track.
“And he said to us immediately that was a brilliant move by Max, but he was off the track by about a meter on the inside of the corner. He left the track to overtake.
“We went back and looked at the vision, and it was very, very clear within a minute of us looking at that.
“And with my fellow stewards in the room, Radovan Novak, Mika Salo, and Dennis Dean, it was a difficult decision, because we had to pull Max Verstappen off third place, off the podium, and replace him with Kimi Raikkonen.”
What is Connelly’s take on the Red Bull Fanatics?
Red Bull fanatics started an uproar on Social Media. They were against the decision-making of the steward. The steward faced a wave of criticism from fanatics on social media in 2017. He recalled the behavior of fanatics in the steward’s panel.
The steward said, “Boy, did we ever cop a lot of criticism,
“We were public enemies number one in the Netherlands, and all the Red Bull fans around the world were up in arms. And a lot of other people as well.
“But we also looked at it from another perspective, in that another driver had been robbed of his rightful position, because Max couldn’t have overtaken Kimi if he’d have complied with the rules.
“And to comply with the rules is very simple, you cannot go off track to overtake someone, you cannot leave the track and gain an advantage. And this was a lasting advantage. He went from fourth to third by overtaking one metre off the track.
“So when it comes to a difficult decision, yes, you feel sorry for the person that you may have to penalise.
“But you also have to think about the other competitors that are affected by the move, or by the action of the competitor that you are investigating.”
Connelly made it clear that he has no regrets about the call made that day.
“I think that’s something that always sticks with me, that was a probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to take with my colleagues.
“But I still believe we did the right thing, we took the right decision.
“And I’m pretty sure if you speak to Max Verstappen today, he’ll agree that in retrospect, it was the right decision.”
Subsequently, this is an unforgettable experience for Connelly. But he is proud of his actions in 2017. He asks his fellow stewards to make such bold decisions in future races.