Verstappen needs to grow up
In his sixth season of F1 at the age of just 22, Verstappen has already built up a wealth of experience and this year he’s added greater consistency to that explosive ability.
But just as we think he’s maturing, he has a weekend like this. Not backing off under yellow flags following Bottas’ qualifying crash is one thing, but his admission in the press conference – and to an apparently cavalier attitude to safety – suggests he still might have some growing up to do. Given his age, perhaps that’s just as it should be. But he’s old enough for a little self-reflection.
In an age when F1 drivers are perceived to lack the character, charisma and sheer force of personality of their predecessors, here we have a driver with that old spark, who is willing to speak his mind and say what some think but would never dare utter. In that respect Verstappen is a breath of fresh air and something of a throwback, all at the same time.
But too often what he says doesn’t necessarily reflect well on him. On Saturday, he’d certainly have been better off keeping his mouth shut.
His drive on Sunday bordered on brilliance, but in the case of his pass on Bottas in the stadium section that led to slight contact and a puncture, just dropped over the line into recklessness. Recovering to sixth place was a mark of the man.
So should he change? Not too much. But there are aspects of his character, both off track and on, that he would be best advised to tone down – especially if he does ever want to drive one of those Mercedes…
Photography courtesy of Motorsport Images.