Max Verstappen believes the penalties Lewis Hamilton received for his Formula 1 pitlane practice start infringement prior to the Russian Grand Prix were “a bit harsh”.

Hamilton was handed two five-second time penalties for making two separate illegal practice starts before the race in Sochi, and has been given an additional two penalty points on his licence.

The two additional penalty points on his licence brings his total up to 10 for the current 12-month period.



Two more penalty points would result in a race ban for the current championship leader. 

Hamilton's penalty allowed Verstappen to regain his grid position of second, where he finished behind eventual race winner Valtteri Bottas.

When asked about the stewards' verdict, Verstappen felt that Hamilton was punished enough with the time penalties and there was no need for the additional penalty points.

“It’s a bit harsh,” Verstappen said. “If you cause a crash it’s different right but I think the penalty Lewis got was already painful enough. I don’t know how many points you got but two points? Two points. I don’t know, it’s a bit harsh that he’s up to ten points.

“Maybe it was not correct where he stopped but penalty points for that, I am not sure that’s correct.”

Verstappen is hopeful the topic is discussed amongst the FIA and the drivers in the future meetings.

“It’s difficult,” Verstappen added. “Like I said before if it’s a crash or whatever you caused I can understand they want to hand penalty points to calm you down or whatever but with things like this, I think Lewis didn’t do anything on purpose to create an issue or whatever - he wanted to practice his start.

“Maybe it wasn’t allowed there but OK, he was already penalised enough by having this penalty enough in the race so I don’t think you need to have penalty points for that. I guess we will talk about it in the next briefing we have and see if something will happen or not.

“It’s always good I guess to talk about it and communicate. At least we know what we are up to fully and we will move on.”