Three-time Formula 1 world champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has blasted the stewards' decision to penalise Max Verstappen for a late overtake in the United States Grand Prix, calling the call: "The worst I've ever seen."

Verstappen was handed a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage after a last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen, dropping him to fourth place.

The decision sparked fury from Red Bull and was widely panned by F1 observers, with Lauda adding his condemnation of the decision when speaking post-race.

"We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’," Lauda said.

"So we complained about that and the stewards were there, Charlie [Whiting] was there and we were there, and there we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere - very simple.

"If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

"For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.

"These are racing drivers and we are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions.

"At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that. They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking."
 
Replays showed Verstappen put all four wheels of his Red Bull car across the white line defining track limits, but Lauda felt this should not warrant a penalty.

"Charlie argued all the time there are white lines and you cannot drive over them, but why can you not driver over white lines if it is possible?" Lauda said.

"Build a wall there if you want, but as long as there is normal circuit you can use it.

"The white line is not a limit, we agreed this last year. It was all agreed and now this.

"I think it’s wrong."

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