Before his step up from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, Max Verstappen was known for his fantastic overtakes in the midfield battles and was deemed as the ‘future star of F1’. But now since his move to the big team, there has been much controversy about his driving style. Is he too aggressive when it comes to defending his place?
In his first race for Red Bull, Verstappen got his first race win and became the youngest ever Grand Prix winner. It seemed like the correct decision was made by Red Bull to promote him up to their team.
However, the teenager has sparked controversy with his mad driving skills and has upset a few of the drivers in the paddock.
One of the main incidents that Verstappen arguably was too defensive was back in Hungary when he came head to head with Raikkonen. As he was defending his position, Verstappen quickly changed his line in the breaking area causing Raikkonen damage to his front wing. His move was quickly criticised by other drivers like Jenson Button as he said in an interview with ESPN that Verstappen’s move was ‘not racing, it [was] dangerous’ and that he could ‘understand Kimi’s frustration’. But Verstappen told the media that he didn’t do anything wrong.
Again, a couple of weeks later in Spa we see both Verstappen and Raikkonen clash again. First of all, in to T1 where Verstappen came up on the inside of Raikkonen – who was also trapped by his teammate, Vettel, on the outside. Causing all three of them damage to their cars in the first corner.
Even with many reviews of the incident, it is still difficult to tell who was at fault for it. Verstappen saw a gap on the inside and went for it. Vettel could of given Raikkonen more space but he didn’t see Verstappen come up the inside of his teammate. Unfortunately for Raikkonen he was stuck in the middle with no where to go.
Later on in the race the two met again. One of the most controversial defensive moves Verstappen made was on the Kemmel Straight. At full speed Raikkonen was about to overtake but Verstappen completely cut him off which resulted in Raikkonen braking at full speed. If he did not break then there could have been a nasty accident. Raikkonen was furious with Verstappen and said over radio message that it was ‘ridiculous’ (along with a few words which are unrepeatable).
Verstappen again defended himself and told media crews that he did no wrong. However, Alonso backed Verstappen saying that although his move was very late it was in the rules as Raikkonen was not along side him at the time.
Last weekend in Japan, Verstappen moved in a breaking zone as Hamilton was about to pass. This caused Hamilton to run off track and it may have cost him second place.
So, is Max Verstappen too aggressive when it comes to defensive moves? The answer is simply – yes.
But, this doesn’t mean it is necessarily a bad thing.
If you look back to the days of Senna and Prost, aggressive driving style was the way racing was. It was exciting and brilliant to watch. Max Verstappen’s aggressive driving is no different to what those two greats were doing back in the day. It shows how much Verstappen is willing to fight in Formula One.
Like him or not, you certainly won’t get any boring moments when another driver (probably Raikkonen) tries to overtake Max Verstappen.
Photo Credit: Autosport