VER­STAP­PEN TOLD TO AL­TER DRIV­ING

F1 RAC­ING AS­SO­CIATE EDI­TOR

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: LAT BTCC at Rock­ing­ham, p22

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].”

Brit Jack Aitken claimed his maiden GP3 win at Spa last week­end in race two. The race fea­tured three safety cars but the Ar­den driver was able to work his way through from fourth on the grid to win from An­to­nio Fuoco. It wasn’t such a good week­end for two of the other Brits as Jake Hughes and Matt Parry col­lided in both races with Hughes get­ting a grid penalty for the next round at Monza. The open­ing race was won by points leader Charles Le­clerc, while Jake Den­nis surged for­ward from 13th on the grid to sec­ond… driver Pierre Gasly won the open­ing GP2 race at Spa to ex­tend his points lead, while Brits Jor­dan King and Alex Lynn com­pleted the podium. An­to­nio Giov­inazzi took an­other win for Prema in race two af­ter pass­ing Gus­tav Malja at mid-dis­tance… Gra­ham Ra­hal won the resched­uled Indycar race at Texas. The con­test was red­flagged in June due to heavy rain and the re­main­der of the race was run last week­end. James Hinch­cliffe was lead­ing to start with but a suc­ces­sion of yel­low flags in the clos­ing stages al­lowed Ra­hal to pounce and claim his first win of the year… Kyle Lar­son beat Chase El­liott at Michi­gan to claim his maiden NASCAR Sprint Cup win… Jamie Whin­cup be­came only the sec­ond driver to claim 100 wins in Aussie Su­per­cars at Syd­ney Mo­tor­sports Park last week­end. Shane van Gis­ber­gen won the open­ing race…

Red Bull driver had a messy race at Spa Ver­stap­pen: Warned

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