Max Verstappen calls his five-second time penalty for a clash with Valtteri Bottas “not fair,” but takes heart from Red Bull’s pace at Monza.

Max Verstappen hit out at the Formula 1 race stewards after receiving a five-second time penalty following a collision with Valtteri Bottas during the Italian Grand Prix, feeling the sanction was “not fair.

”Red Bull’s Verstappen spent much of the race battling with Bottas for third position, keeping the Mercedes driver behind throughout the first stint of the race at Monza.

Bottas managed to close up on Verstappen following a long first stint that gave him fresher tyres for the run to the line, and attempted a move around the outside at Turn 1 on Lap 43.

Verstappen squeezed Bottas towards the grass, with the two drivers making contact, forcing Bottas to go straight on at the run-off area.

Red Bull told Verstappen he had left enough room as Bottas did not touch the grass, but the stewards failed to agree, instead hitting the Dutchman with a five-second time penalty.

After being informed of the penalty, Verstappen responded with an expletive-laden message in which he said the stewards were “killing racing”. He later said he did not care that he was losing time to the oncoming Sebastian Vettel, instead aggressively hold the position ahead of Bottas.

Verstappen dropped to fifth behind both Bottas and Vettel after his time penalty had been applied, and expressed frustration over the stewards’ call after the race.

“We were in a position we didn’t expect to be, and I think I gave him a car’s width of space on the left of me. Then he basically clipped my wheel and had to go straight,” Verstappen said.

“So I don’t agree with, but maybe they took the penalty because in the middle of the race when he first tried to take me, I went a bit wide, maybe that’s why they gave it to me. But even then, I think it’s not fair, because they gave it straight away.

“It’s a shame, but looking at the positives, the car was working really well.”

Verstappen had said on Saturday he expected a lonely race given Red Bull’s lack of straight-line speed compared to Ferrari and Mercedes, but was impressed by the RB14’s tyre management through the race.

“Even though the lack of top speed we have, the car was good on the tyres,” Verstappen said.

“Of course I had to push a bit harder under braking and in terms of accleration to keep Valtteri behind, so it also takes a bit out of your tyres. But it was still under control.”