Verstappen: Vettel and Hamilton better, faster than Bottas

Max Verstappen is still fuming with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas after the pair went wheel to wheel during the Italian Grand Prix, although the Mercedes driver came off second best in the late-race Turn 1 incident, in the end, the Red Bull driver suffered most as he was handed a penalty for forcing his rival off track.

Subsequently, Verstappen was handed a penalty and his stubborn defence of third place in a visibly underpowered car turned to fifth place.

Verstappen reflected on the weekend at Monza and his altercation with the Finn, “He always does that. I know that. Hamilton or Vettel would have passed me sooner. They’re just quicker and better than Bottas. Yes, they are simply better!”

“Bottas never got closer to me, so even without that penalty I could have stayed in P3. I was never ever going to let him pass and settle for fourth or fifth — as that’s where we’re supposed to be on current pace.”

The young Dutchman still feels aggrieved about the five-second penalty the FIA race stewards felt he deserved.

Verstappen explained, “I was just defending my position. Got caught up in that situation because we were losing on the straights, that’s basically it. We were never expecting to be there anyway.

“I’m not angry — P5 was where we were expecting to be, realistically speaking. We were closer than expected. I think we should be able to race hard, not get penalties for just the slightest touch. It’s too extreme. This is just an example. There have been other cases of two cars touching without a penalty. It’s a bit random.”

As for his race, the 20-year-old said, “We were just lacking on the straight so we ended up in this position. This doesn’t happen to him. I don’t think. It depends — on who is stewarding the race.”