Jenson Button disagrees with demands for harsher Max Verstappen penalty

"Should he have had a bigger penalty? It might be controversial but I don’t think he should have"

Jenson Button (GBR) Sky Sports F1 Presenter / Williams Racing Senior Advisor on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd
Jenson Button (GBR) Sky Sports F1 Presenter / Williams Racing Senior…

Jenson Button insists the FIA stewards were correct not to implement a harsher punishment on Max Verstappen for his tangle with Lando Norris.

McLaren’s Norris saw his Austrian Grand Prix cut brutally short last weekend after contact with Red Bull’s Verstappen.

Verstappen was hit with a 10-second penalty which Christian Horner labelled “harsh”.

Their friendship - and Verstappen’s uncompromising driving style - are under the microscope ahead of this weekend’s F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Ex-F1 champion Button told Sky Sports: “I enjoyed watching the battle between Max and Lando - it’s something we’ll be talking about for races to come, years to come, these two fighting for a world championship.

“There’s a lot of talk about Max moving in the braking zone. Should he have had a bigger penalty?

“It might be controversial but I don’t think he should have.

“When he braked, he slightly went to the left. Sometimes that happens. You look to the right, you move to the left a bit.

“I think he moved to the left because Lando was there, which is the issue.

“Lando also could have moved to the left. There was a lot more circuit to go. And avoided the contact.

“Something very similar happened last year in Austria on exactly the same corner. It was Carlos Sainz on the inside and Verstappen on the outside.

“Carlos moved to the left, exactly as Max does. Max follows him, runs on the kerb, they don’t make contact.

“It’s hard racing. Sometimes it goes wrong and we talk about it afterwards. But it’s great that we’re talking about it because these two will be fighting for years to come.

“This sets us up for the British Grand Prix. It will be these two fighting for the win.”

McLaren boss Andrea Stella reacted to the contact in Austria by insisting a bad precedent was set by the stewards who did not punish Verstappen severely enough for historic scraps with Lewis Hamilton.

However, Button believes Stella is merely seeking an on-track advantage with his bold words.

“Max, in the past, has been overly aggressive especially against Lewis,” Button said.

“I don’t feel it’s that way against Lando at the moment. If they went a step further, it would be.

“Drivers never used to come on the radio and say ‘he pushed me off!’

“They do it because it’s a reaction that the stewards will hear, and hopefully do something about it, because they have done in the past.

“Andrea knows it will get a reaction, and could change the result.”

Button backed Norris for victory this Sunday at Silverstone, which would be hugely popular for his home fanbase.

Although it is Mercedes’ George Russell, another Brit, who enters his home race having won last weekend in Austria.

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