Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain Internatinoal Circuit, 2018

Hamilton only criticising me because I’m young – Verstappen

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen defended his driving against Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain and said the Mercedes driver had only singled him out for criticism because he is younger.

“It’s quite simple and easy to blame the younger driver,” said Verstappen, who is 13 years younger than Hamilton. “That’s the only way I can see it. But these things happen, there’s no reason for me to change anything.”

Verstappen said he hasn’t spoken to Hamilton yet about the collision between the pair which led to Verstappen’s retirement from Sunday’s race.

“I might have a talk with him, depends if it’s really necessary,” said Verstappen, who added he sees no reason to alter his approach to wheel-to-wheel racing.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong in terms of my approach. I was just trying to overtake a car and I think it was a fair chance, I went for it.

“For example last year in Mexico it could have gone wrong as well maybe for me, maybe for another car. As you could see in Mexico it did. It’s racing, it’s very simple, and I don’t understand why everyone is so on top of the topic because those things happen in racing.”

Verstappen heads into this weekend’s race 10th in the championship but insisted he doesn’t intend to drive more conservatively.

“It’s always important to score points and that’s always the target. But we are to finish on the podium and win races, that’s what I will try to do again this weekend, so for me there won’t be a change.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Hamilton only criticising me because I’m young – Verstappen”

  1. There is really not much more to it.

    1. In my opinion, Max did absolutely nothing wrong. Thank God someone out there is taking risks and making the show exciting.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        12th April 2018, 14:19

        @shimks No as Lewis said it was a silly move and I’ll explain to you why. Hamilton and Max were both out of position and were going to move up. This was the start of the race and it was totally unnecessary to risk a collision with Lewis that could have taken 1 or both out – fortunately, Max paid for his mistake although Lewis could have easily paid for it instead with Max getting a free ride.

        What was the point of passing Lewis? They’d both fight against each other (unless Lewis was smart and just followed Max ) and then passed him. He could have just gotten behind him and passed the cars. There was no point in trying to make a dangerous pass at the start of the race and to make it the way that he did showed a lot of immaturity. It’s disrespectful because it assumes that Lewis and Fernando would be sitting ducks and that’s about the stupidest mistake you can make in F1.

        At some point, Max will have to outscore Daniel at Red Bull. If he fails to do that and there’s only so long that you can use reliability as a crutch (whether that’s the case of not), then he’s not capable of bringing in the points. He might be faster, he might be a better racer but if he scores fewer points on account of his driving habits, then he’s a worse overall driver than Daniel.

        If you watched MotoGP the past weekend, you’ll see that Crutchlow waited in P4 and didn’t pass until the end. Sure he could have mixed it up and used up his tyres but instead he waited. It was a masterful drive by him (and Zarco who so deserves a MotoGP win) but in the end Crutchlow’s experience paid off.

        I also remember Lewis in the Mercedes starting behind Alonso in a McLaren and Lewis could have passed Alonso but what did he do? He simply let Alonso clear the field and followed him without ever pressuring Fernando.

        That’s what Max should have done there especially at the start of the race when you’re swamped by cars and simply want to get out of that spot in the best shape possible. I think he got too greedy and thought he could pass Lewis as if he was passing a Sauber.

        1. @freelittlebirds I couldn’t disagree more.

          What was the point of passing Lewis? Because this is racing, and because Max is well aware that with an underpowered car, there is a very good chance that after the first few corners LH will be off into the sunset. Get ahead of him and maybe there is at least a glimmer of hope that his dirty air can keep him behind in spite of drs.

          Max has tried to ‘max’ his starts from day one for him in F1. Max’s only hope this year of making any waves is going to come from his great starts, and to try to pass as many cars as possible when those opportunities present themselves. He simply doesn’t have the luxury right now in a car that he can be confident will give him another chance at an LH later on in the race. Particularly he laments their lack of straight-line speed. Cornering he is less concerned about.

          Had there not been contact we would have been praising Max for a WDC level move akin to what LH often does. Max was being just the right amount of ‘greedy’…that being the same amount WDC level drivers are. And Max is at RBR for the long haul. They know they are down on performance and aren’t likely to win both Championships this season, so might as well go for it. They know Max is an awesome hard charger, and they’ll want him on the team as long as they can possibly keep him. And they know he outperformed DR last year all things being equal.

          My advice to Max…keep doing what you’re doing. Which is what he has said he is going to do.

          1. Had there not been contact, Ves would have been sat behind Alo, and Ham would have had the inside line for the next corner. There’s no way to fit three cars abreast on that part of the track, but that’s precisely what Ves tried to do – and when he realised he couldn’t he tried to create space for him by pushing Ham.

            Don’t get me wrong, it was a clear racing incident, I’m not blaming Max for the contact, he had the speed, but not the experience. That said, Ham had yielded the corner to Alo, which was nothing to write home about, and honestly, I think the only driving of praise was Alo’s defensive posturing – he had Max and Lewis controlled on the prime overtaking point of the circuit.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            12th April 2018, 15:54

            @Robbie If I recall correctly, Max’s pass wasn’t facilitated by him – it was facilitated by Alonso who blocked Lewis and allowed Max through. By the same token, Lewis had an incredible start at the race but was blocked by Magnussen and Lewis steered as far as possible to avoid the possibility of contact by a bloodthirsty Magnussen.

            I like Max but he needs to stay in the race for us to see him. Whether it’s reliability or silly moves, Max somehow ends up destroying his race and that’s not really good for RB, his fans, or F1. I suppose if watching him race for 5 laps counts as a race, then I guess he’s doing great. Eventually we’ll have to concede that DR is the better driver because Max is impetuous.

            He’s lucky that he doesn’t or can’t get enough points to fight for the championship and can gamble but when he’s in the hunt for the championship, I can assure you that Vettel, Lewis, and others will not let him by so he’ll have to stay behind them or kiss his championship hopes goodbye.

            They can easily take him out of the race by gambling like he does. The way he’s going, he might never win a championship even if he a championship worthy car.

          3. @freelittlebirds Again I have to disagree and I think you are writing into stone a Max that has only just begun.

            If Max’s move was facilitated by FA, that’s fine…that’s how it works sometimes…how opportunities arise. Good on Max for seeing that. Max had his usual incredible start too. He really shines off the grid line. He made a move that WDC’s make too, so that bodes well for his future.

            Reliability is something out of Max’s control, and his ‘silly’ moves are only described thus by those who wish to paint that colour of picture. I think when he actually does have a WDC capable car, the others will be eating his dust.

            If I had ever seen LH or SV ‘stay behind’ in order to win their WDC’s then perhaps I might agree but really it is quite funny for you to say that ‘Vettel, Lewis, and others will not let him by, so he’ll have to stay behind them or kiss his championship hopes goodbye.’ uhhh…yaaaa…staying behind is one way to guarantee never winning. Just as staying behind last weekend would have, in Max’s view from his seat, likely meant no hope at all of catching let alone passing LH, such does Max regret and understand their lack of straight line speed.

            The way Max goes, once he has a WCC car, which is pretty much the necessary ingredient to winning the WDC, he’ll have far less need to ‘gamble’ for he will be able to have more options as to when to make a pass. He’ll be starting higher on the grid with fewer obstacles in his way and more faith in the car under him.

          4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            12th April 2018, 16:29

            @Robbie Well, let’s hope you’re right. I can’t wait to see Max do better in races and duke it out with Daniel.

        2. What was the point of passing Lewis?

          Yeah, what is the point of passing other cars. Let’s just wait and see if there is an easier opportunity later in the race. That’s not the racing I like to see.

  2. No Max you need to behave and drive as a train. Just like the other drivers.

  3. Isn’t that what Ali G said?

    1. Good one. “Maybe because I’m young”

  4. Is this really still going on? If he didn’t get a puncture and retire, even if it was exactly the same in every other aspect, no one would care. Verstappen was the one who it affected badly and he’s been the quietest about it.

    1. It’s odd, isn’t it? Hamilton was lucky to get away with damage (let’s not open the debate again about whose fault it was, but Hamilton laying the blame all on Verstappen is unfair), yet he is the one bleating on, whereas Verstappen shrugs and continues.

      1. How is it Hamilton bleating on? There isn’t even a comment there from him. Its pretty obvious Max has been asked a question about Lewis’ comments from last Sunday. I imagine both drivers have now moved on to concentrating on this weekend.

      2. @hahostolze

        You do understand its Max talking in this interview ? Max Verstappen… NOT Hamilton. How can you say Hamilton is “bleating on” while max ” shrugs and continues” when its Max bleating on about it in this interview?

        Max was at fault but luckily he came off worse so no further action was required.

    2. Which is precisely why Ham made the comments he did, so that it would be in the media and would put the spotlight (and hence a little pressure) on MV.

      It’s all mind games… but it will be water off a duck’s back for MV. He’s a real threat to Hamilton and Vettel and all three of them know it.

    3. The Verstapfosi are quickly gaining ground as the most blinkered fans in F1.

      1. +1 RB145

        It must be those orange tints on the glasses.

      2. The Verstapfosi

        looks a bit pot kettle black to me

    4. @hugh11 +1.

      Also, I don’t want Verstappen to change how he drives. It’s been a joy watching him race for the last 3 years and I hope that continues

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds like young Max is starting to get a bit of a chip on his shoulder, so to speak.

    1. I think it is the same ‘chip’ he has had all along. That of a WDC level driver in the making.

  6. Yea, Ves, you see nothing wrong with going for a gap with a 50% chance of success and then if you crash out yourself and possibly other cars, you just shrug it off, but you ruined the race for millions of people each time you do that. You need to grow up and think of not just yourself.

    1. Yeah, F1 might become far too exciting to watch if drivers go for difficult overtakes. I totally agree, they should just wait for a clean and safe drs overtake

    2. Honestly, the only thing that is ruining the race for me is listening to Crofty yelling and saying or asking silly things.

      1. Turn off the commentary – your presence on this website is a strong indication you’re going to be way ahead of the team anyhow – I went to the sky streams without commentary years ago and never looked back.

        1. That’s a nice option. One that’s not available to all locales that rebroadcast the Sky feed, unfortunately.

          Hence why I use the Crofty-button on the remote. Similar to the Mute button on most remotes, but has F1 enhancements like a halo around the button to protect it from being mashed into molten plastic.

    3. I’m not a Hamboi by any stretch of the imagination and I haven’t watched a fresh replay but I thought at the time that the first part of Verstappen’s move was fine (plenty of room) but the second part was a silly blocking attempt. Rosberg got nailed a few times for similar poor form.

  7. Verstappen aggressiveness might hurt his chances to be a champion. From slightly missing an apex to unfortunate event. I rate him very highly that I suspect he was deliberately nudge his front wing to Kimi rear tyre last year in Singapore. Everything is calculated with him, unless he apologize and admit that it’s his mistake. I hope he never be in dominant car and never change his style. Watching him fighting and explore the legal limit of the sport is so refreshing.

  8. No Max it was your own fault. You had the move completed, you didn’t need to go back across the front of Hamilton to confirm it.

  9. I don’t think Hamilton is using Max’s age as an excuse to criticise him. Even if Max was 10 years older, and was driving with the same level of aggressiveness, he would get a certain amount of flak from drivers.

    I like Max. He’s a solid talent, but he has to see the pattern emerging of him having more “racing incidents” and more controversy around driving style than any other driver on the grid since 2015.

    1. The sheen is quickly wearing off Verstappen unfortunately. From the expletives aimed at the steward who correctly penalised him for overtaking off track last year to the sullen spoilt attitude and flashes of poor driving (Australia spinning out, blaming his qually spin on a sudden 150bhp boost his team could not corroborate) – It’s clear that his own hype went to his head and he is over driving to prove a point instead of banking actual results.

      And his fans are fast heading the same way too.

    2. @todfod I would have thought that ‘award’ would have gone to Nico.

      @RB145 I’m a fan of Max and moreso with every race. He’s only just begun. It’s clear to me he’s a force to be reckoned with. Compelling to think what he’ll do in a WCC car.

      1. @robbie I’ve gone quite the other way. I was astounded by his performance in Brazil 2016 but since that race I feel that the praise went to his head, Malaysia 2017 notwithstanding. I do however look forward to him eating a little bit of humble pie and regaining that form, on that I most certainly agree.

    3. ??

  10. W (@vishnusxdx)
    12th April 2018, 10:56

    Shut up and drive, Max.

    1. @vishnusxdx

      do you think he called his own press meeting to announce his feelings? Im sure he’d rather be at home playing video games

  11. Being aggressive and taking risks in driving is fine, even great, IF it actually gets a good result, but at some point you’re just wrecking cars and losing points.

    I love watching him drive, I love watching him take those risks, but I feel like sometimes he takes foolish risks, rather than worthy risks. He needs a smidge more restraint – not a lot, just a bit. And yeah, it might be his age that’s the problem. Luckily he’ll grow out of that.

    Now to duck the incoming hate from max’s diehards.

    1. @zapski I just think you are using the beauty of hindsight a bit…not a lot, just a bit;)

      Max won’t be changing his hard charging ways, because that is who he is and has been from the start. I think he knows he is not in the WDC winning car and must just go for it. Sure I hear you in that Max has had other incidents too, but I think the same of those. With cars so hard to pass these days, and especially if you lack 40 hp or what have you, you have to just go for the opportunities, or watch the competition drive off into the sunset. If Max had the equivalent of a Mercedes perhaps he would feel like he could exercise a little restraint and get the guy on the next lap, but I don’t think Max has that luxury.

      As I say I do take your point, but I try to put myself in the drivers shoes as well as taking each event on it’s own. In this case Max did nothing wrong, nor anything many other drivers including LH wouldn’t have, and have done many times. I think that is why LH gave Max a ‘sorry about that’ today, not in a ‘my fault/your fault’ kind of way but just, I think, an acknowledgement that that was just racing, or that his comment afterward was heat of the moment. Max must not stop ‘just racing,’ nor will he, thank goodness.

  12. Well, you have to measure your risks and manage them. I have seen moves from VES where his aggresiveness was calculated but this was just not one of them. It was too enthusiastic and he paid for it.

    And I don’t understand how this can be viewed as good racing. Even Ericsson can dive to the inside line, not manage to brake, and try to complete his pass by forcing a world champion out of the track. Is there really any driving skill in this?

  13. He doesn’t need to drive more conservatively, he just needs to drive more intelligently.

    Just look at all the incidents he’s been involved in:
    Moving in the breaking zone against Kimi in Spar.

    Hauled off the podium in Mexico because he barged Vettel off the track.

    Bangs into the side of teamate Ricciardo and forces him out of the race in Hungary.

    Now we have the self inflicted incident with Hamilton in Bahrain, in which he also forces him off the track, but loses out this time as he is out of the race and Hamilton is able to continue.

    His dad has brainwashed him into thinking that he’s the next biggest thing.

  14. “It’s always important to score points and that’s always the target. But we are to finish on the podium and win races, that’s what I will try to do again this weekend, so for me there won’t be a change.”

    And there is the difference between drivers like Bottas, and those that will probably go on to win world championships.

  15. I get the strong feeling from recent comments that Verstappen wants the Bottas seat. I wonder what, if any, “escape” clauses there may be in his Red Bull contract.

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