Max Verstappen has called out the "idiot steward" that deciding to penalise him for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when passing Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix, denying the Red Bull Formula 1 driver third place at the checkered flag.

Verstappen barged his way past Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the race through the final sector, appearing to ride the kerb when completing the move after a stunning fight up from 16th on the grid.

The stewards, led by Mika Salo this weekend, quickly acted by investigating Verstappen and handing him a five-second penalty for putting all four wheels off the circuit when passing Raikkonen, leaving the track in the process.

Verstappen was led away from the cool-down room before the podium after being informed of the decision, but made no secret of his annoyance after the race.

"I'm feeling good personally. Of course a big shame that you miss out on the podium afterwards," Verstappen said.

"They take you away again. It's just one idiot steward up there who makes the decisions against me. Also in Mexico [last year]. Now I get a five-second penalty and a penalty point, for what?

"At the end of the day, everybody's running wide everywhere, there are no track limits, and then the crowd is loving it and you do something like that in front of world TV. You pick someone out from the podium again and tell them to go away.

"At the end of the day, I still had a great race. I'm happy with fourth. Just the way they did it is unbelievable."

Verstappen was also angry that he cannot appeal against the stewards' decision, with the investigation and penalty being dished out within minutes of the race ending.

"You can't protest, it's in the rules, they know how to make the rules," Verstappen said.

"At the moment it's in their favour. They decide and you can't do anything against them which is of course really weird. But what can you do? It's not good for the crowd.

"I really hope next year nobody is coming, because like this, the sport doesn't make sense. Everyone is loving it, great action.

"You go five or 10 centimetres in the inside of the kerb, everyone is running wide everywhere, nobody's saying anything, like in qualifying at Turn 19 you could just run wide wherever you liked. And they killed the race basically like that."