I was reading an article today about Lewis Hamilton complaining of Sebastian Vettel’s re-start process and a series of stop, go, stop, go etc. It sort of reminded me of last year in Baku when Vettel got caught out by Hamilton and hit the back of him…and then side.
Lewis said that wasn’t allowed in F1 and he’ll seek clarification in Spain. Regardless, that article had another quote from former F1 driver John Watson and it was relatively scathing of young Max Verstappen’s driving and the Red Bull teammates colliding in Azerbaijan.
‘Red Bull have created a monster. After signing him up on a multi-million bucks deal, he thinks he is undisputed No 1. Actually, the way he races is as if he’s still in F3.
‘If I ran the team, I’d swap him with Pierre Gasly, put him back in Toro Rosso (Red Bull’s junior team for whom Gasly drives), to learn how to be a grand prix driver. Until he realises that driving as recklessly as he does serves nobody, he is just going to be a dangerous hot-rod.
‘To think smart, not fast, is beyond him. Over four weekends so far he has screwed up each time. They’ve created a monster and it is difficult to control it now.’
Ouch. On the other hand, having read many of the fan comments about the incident, there is some who feel just like John. That Red Bull recognized the raw, unbridled talent of Verstappen and ended up becoming an enabler instead of a good race craft honing operation for him.
If you argued that advancing him that quickly into the Red Bull team from Toro Rosso, in hindsight, I am not sure I would disagree with you. Recall they called Daniil Kvyat the “torpedo” and while he had his share of incidents, is Max any better having four issues in the first four races of the 2018 season? I’m not sure Kvyat had that many consecutive race incidents to be honest.
When the push to bring younger and younger drivers into the sport, several years ago, I recalled the deep concern over hiring Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in the very early 20’s. Kimi only had 23 total races under his belt and FIA president Max Mosley had serious concerns over handing him a Super License.
Now we have 18 and 19-year-old drivers and the question I asked back when they hired the likes of Verstappen, Gutierrez, Bianchi, Ocon, Stroll et. al. was, are these drivers getting enough experience in junior formula to be able to run with any modicum of race craft needed for F1?
Most fans of each driver would most likely tell me yes. So would the teams that hired them. Maybe some are and some aren’t and that’s what we’re discovering. Regardless, I think some could use more seat time in a lower formula given the struggles they had in the big league. Instead, they are now ushered out of the door. All is fair in love and war but that’s a harsh world. You got one shot, kid, and if you can’t handle it in F1 even though you’re 18, your F1 career is over.
Still, these young drivers have worked very hard to even get the opportunity and it probably only comes once unless you are Brendon Hartley or Felipe Mass so they take it when it comes regardless if they are ready or not. To thwart my own opinion, this is supposed to be what the Super License ladder system is to guard against ins’t it?
What do you think? Has Red Bull created a monster in Max Verstappen? Should be be sent down to STR to cool off? Are the drivers too young for the pressure, money and demands of F1? You could argue that Max is a race winner so maybe not.
Hat Tip: Daily Mail