The United States GP is still fresh in Gary Connelly’s memory. Max Verstappen qualified in sixth place, but had to start the race from behind the field due to an engine change. During the race, the Dutchman stormed the field like a knife burning in butter. At the end of the race, Verstappen was able to get closer to Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari).
On the last lap, the Red Bull driver performed a brilliant overtaking action on the Finn, and with success. Verstappen crossed the finish line in third place, but had to give the Finn back his third place, after race management decided he had crossed the white line with all wheels on the pass and took some profited. Mika Salo said immediately [na de inhaalactie, red.]“What a wonderful action,” Connelly recalls well.
Verstappen stepped onto the podium, refreshing drinks and towels, when an FIA official, accompanied by Kimi Räikkönen, picked up the Dutchman. He was fined five seconds and fell within half a second of the Ferrari driver. A particularly painful moment for Verstappen, but also for Räikkönen, who also did not entirely agree. Especially the way things were going was absurd according to the Finn.
In front of The race Gary Connelly goes back in time. “Shortly before the end of the race, Max surprised Kimi with a nice passing action. We had with us a former Formula 1 driver, who is very good at assessing the situations on the track. He immediately said: “It was a great action, but Verstappen crossed the lines and took advantage,” said Connelly.
“So we watched the video over and over again and it was very clear. Then we had to make a difficult decision to remove Max from the scene. You can hardly imagine the reactions. Suddenly, like the others, I was kind of an enemy of According to many we did not act fairly, not in the best interests of the sport, ”said Connelly.
Criticism was out of this world and even death threats were made against Mika Salo, among others. “The truth is that if Max had used the track ‘normally’ he would not have passed Kimi runway limits, if they do, are not flexible. – I think we did the right thing. And I’m convinced that if we spoke to Verstappen today, he would now see that we couldn’t have acted differently then. “
“I was threatened with death mainly by Dutch people,” Salo told the media at the time. “As stewards we have to endure a lot of criticism, but it really hits everything. It seems the fans don’t know the limits anymore.” Facing Finnish Finland F1 Said Mika Salo: “Changing the WikiPedia article was a good joke, but threatening me and other members of the competition leadership goes too far and should not go unpunished.”
Mika Salo submitted the file to the FIA. In the end, the storm blew and no one was chased. All of this shows how fanatical Dutch Max Verstappen fans are. The Dutch are of unprecedented popularity in their own country, but also abroad.