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Max Verstappen F1 US GP penalty 'the worst decision ever' - Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda F1 2017

Mercedes Formula 1 chairman Niki Lauda has called Max Verstappen's penalty for going off track when passing Kimi Raikkonen in the United States Grand Prix the worst decision he's ever seen.

Verstappen was given a five second penalty after passing Raikkonen on the last lap, dropping him back from third to fourth, after he was deemed to have gained an advantage by putting all four wheels off track to make the pass.

"This decision is the worst I've ever seen, he did nothing wrong," said Lauda.

"We're racing drivers, we're not on a normal road, it's ridiculous to destroy the sport with this kind of decision.

"Next strategy meeting we need to bring it up to the agenda and start it all over again, because we cannot do that, it's going too far.

Join the debate on the Verstappen penalty in the Autosport Forum

"There was nothing to interfere with, it was a normal overtaking."

The triple world champion insisted that drivers should be allowed to use all the available road surface.

"Charlie [Whiting, F1 race director] argues all the time there's white lines and you cannot drive over them," he said.

"Why cannot you drive over white lines if it is possible? Build a wall there if you want.

"As long as there is normal circuit, you can use it. A white line is not a limit.

"We agreed this all, last year it was all agreed. And now we get this decision. I think it's completely wrong."

Lauda recalled that it was agreed in a meeting last year to allow drivers to race without unnecessary interference from officials.

"We got the stewards in to tell us how fast stewards could go during a race," he said.

"Because it always says 'under investigation.' So we complained about that.

"We agreed all together that unless it is dangerous, the stewards would not interfere. Very simple.

"If they drive over [each other] and go upside down, only then they will come in."

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