In Depth

F1: ‘torpedo’ Max Verstappen slammed by critics and Lewis Hamilton

Jos Verstappen says his son should have kept quiet after qualifying in Mexico

Jos: Max should have said nothing

Max Verstappen is taking a lot of flak for his driving and the comments he made at last weekend’s Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen was later given a three-place grid penalty after admitting in the post-qualifying press conference that he failed to slow down while Bottas’s Mercedes was stopped.

The 22-year-old had said: “It’s qualifying and, yeah, you go for it. But like I said before, if they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”

F1 chiefs did delete the lap and Verstappen had to start the race in fourth. His father, Jos, believes his son should have kept quiet. 

Speaking to Ziggo Sport, Jos Verstappen said: “We have discussed the press conference. I think he shouldn’t have said anything. 

Hamilton: I got torpedoed

Starting fourth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Verstappen then nearly “wiped out” Lewis Hamilton, The Sun reports, after forcing the Mercedes driver on to the grass.     

Hamilton recovered to win the race and later “took a pop” at Verstappen’s driving, says The Sun.

The British driver said: “I obviously got torpedoed. I thought at some stage I’d get torpedoed by Max. If you’ve seen races before, I always leave Max a lot of space - it’s the smartest thing you can do. 

“Every driver is different. Some are smarter; some are very smart, aggressive and some are silly with it. Through experiences of racing with people, you give some more space and others you don’t have to. They’re quite respectful. 

Winners and losers in Mexico

Hamilton’s victory in Mexico puts him on the verge of a sixth F1 drivers’ title, which he can secure this weekend at the United States Grand Prix. 

The Mercedes driver was the big “winner” in Mexico, says Formula1.com senior writer Lawrence Barretto, while Red Bull’s Verstappen was the big “loser”

After the incident with Hamilton Verstappen also made contact with Bottas. The aggressive move led to a puncture on his Red Bull. 

Despite Verstappen recovering to finish sixth in Mexico, Barretto said it was “huge opportunity lost” for the Red Bull star.     

‘Unworthy of a Formula 1 driver’

Hamilton was not the only person to hit out at Verstappen following the race last Sunday. GrandPx reports that the Red Bull driver has taken a “barrage of criticism” from pundits.

Former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve gave a scathing response when talking to Sky Italia: “Verstappen’s behaviour was unworthy of a Formula 1 driver. He just drove a really bad weekend and was very arrogant for the cameras. I really cannot understand how people chose him to be driver of the day.”

‘Immature and arrogant’: media reactions

What the international media had to say about Verstappen: 

Luke Slater, The Daily Telegraph

“A strange Mexican Grand Prix weekend sums up both his best and worst sides as a racer and a competitor. He is arguably the most naturally talented F1 driver of the last two decades, but that talent comes with a rough, abrasive and occasionally impetuous edge.”

Kicker, Germany 

“Instead of taking a third consecutive win in Mexico, he is sixth and the debate about his brutal driving style is reopened.”

L’Equipe, France

“If people thought that Verstappen had become wiser, he demonstrated in Mexico that it is not the case.” 

La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy 

“On the one hand it creates many fans for him, but he also finds many critics who find him immature and arrogant.”

Next race: United States

After the drama in Mexico there is a quick turnaround for the United States Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas.

The race on Sunday 3 November starts at 7.10pm (UK time) and is live on Sky Sports

Lewis Hamilton can seal the F1 2019 title in Austin. The five-time world champion needs just four points to win the championship and will do so by finishing eighth or higher.

Hamilton will also be crowned world champion if Mercedes team-mate Bottas fails to win the United States GP.

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