After the Bahrain incident with Lewis Hamilton, paddock pundits were asking Max Verstappen if he needed to calm down a bit for the Chinese Grand Prix. Max, in his inimitable style, said that he would simply be “Max”.
That “Max” saw another collision taking Sebastian Vettel off the podium adding salt to a wound the German was already feeling having been beaten by Mercedes strategy denying him a win. While Max was hitting, spinning and gaining penalties, his teammate was creating opportunity and taking opportunities when they were offered in order to win the race…something Red Bull boss Helmet Marko says Max threw away.
“There was a victory for him on the table, but he gave it away.
“But still it was a very good drive from both our drivers. He 19 or 20, he’s bloody young, and it can happen.”
From Max’s perspective, we saw a more contrite Verstappen than in the past:
“I could see he was struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late in the corners,” he said.
“I locked the rears and hit him. It was of course my fault. Not what I want.
“It is easy to say after that I should have waited, and that probably would have been the best idea, but unfortunately it happened.”
There is no doubt a boat load of raw talent in Max and as any young driver realizes, racing in F1 is equal parts aggression, opportunism and patience. Letting the race come to you is part of a driver’s arsenal and his teammate showed that on Sunday.
Daniel made some terrific passes which he needed in order to put him in a position to win but he let those opportunities materialize to a point that he felt he could pull off the late-braking moves. With the Bottas pass, he showed the Finn how he should have approached Vettel in Bahrain.
Max, on the other hand, seemed to be too excitable and forced the moment trying to create an opportunity where the wasn’t one or where the opportunity hadn’t materialized to a point that he could pull it off.
Red Bull were quick to remind the world that Max is young but Sebastian Vettel, quite measured in his post-race comments given that Max cost him serious points and reduced his lead to Hamilton, said that the youth excuse doesn’t work as Verstappen has been in F1 for three seasons…he has a point.
Hat Tip: Autosport