VERSTAPPEN TOLD TO ALTER DRIVING
F1 RACING ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Some of F1’s leading lights have called on Max Verstappen to alter his driving style, with some claiming the teenager is on the verge of a ‘massive accident’ after a bruising Belgian Grand Prix.
The 18-year-old Dutchman was involved in a string of clashes during the race at Spa, which began with a turn one collision with the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, in which Verstappen broke his front wing and was forced to pit at the end of the first lap.
Verstappen fought back to finish 11th, but again provoked controversy for his defensive driving as he tried to hold cars off with his damaged Red Bull.
Raikkonen repeatedly radioed his team saying Verstappen was blocking him, once moving across to defend late after Raikkonen had already made his attacking move. Verstappen has often adopted the tactic of moving across late once he has seen which way an attack is coming from.
Raikkonen said after the race: “The problem is when I came with DRS I am 15-20kph faster and once I turn he waits and turns after me. I had to brake at full speed to not hit him. If I had not braked we would have had a massive accident. This will happen sooner or later if this does not change. But it seems OK as the stewards do not penalise him. Maybe it needs an accident before things get more clear but nobody likes to see things like that.”
Merc team boss Toto Wolff said he admired Verstappen, but also questioned his tactics. “He is refreshing,” said Wolff. “He comes with no fear, no respect and gets his elbows out. It reminds me of the great ones – the likes of Lewis [Hamilton] and Ayrton Senna. Some guys are starting to think twice about how to overtake him.
“The FIA has not penalised it, he’s just been given a hard time in drivers’ briefings. I just fear it might end up in the wall heavily one day. It is refreshing, but dangerous.”
Verstappen responded by saying both Ferrari drivers were at fault for the turn one clash, and that his driving was stern but fair.
“I’m just defending my position and if somebody doesn’t like it it’s his own problem,” he said. “If they screw up my race, I’m not going to make it easy for them, I think they should understand that.
“I’m not going to say ‘come through’. At turn one I was up the inside and didn’t lock a brake so was easily making the corner, but they [the Ferrari’s] kept squeezing me until Sebastian turned in on us both. If turn one hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have been so aggressive and pushed Raikkonen out like that [at the first chicane].”
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