Max Verstappen complains F1 penalties are 'destroying racing'

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MONZA, Italy -- Max Verstappen feels he was unfairly punished for a late clash with Valtteri Bottas at the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was defending third place from Bottas in the closing stages when the Mercedes drivers made a run at him down the inside of Turn 1. As Bottas got alongside the Red Bull driver, Verstappen appeared to move over and clip the side of Bottas' car.

The contact forced Bottas across the run-off area at the first corner but prompted the stewards to give Verstappen a five-second time penalty. That meant he was relegated behind Bottas and Sebastian Vettel after taking the chequered flag, despite finishing ahead of both on the road.

When told about the penalty on radio, he said: "Don't worry about it!? I gave him space. They're doing a great job of killing racing, honestly."

Verstappen had already been warned against cutting the same corner after doing so to stay ahead of the Mercedes driver earlier in the race. The Dutchman feels like that may have influcenced the stewards' decision.

Speaking to TV reporters afterwards, he said: "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, and then he basically clipped my wheel and had to go straight. 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."