Martin Brundle says Max Verstappen’s strong words after the Belgian Grand Prix serve to psych other drivers out, with the ex-F1 racer turned star TV pundit calling the Red Bull ace’s mind games “highly impressive and slightly alarming”.
Verstappen once again came under fire for his driving antics at Spa-Francorchamps after being involved in a first-corner tussle with the two Ferraris. The 18-year-old’s defending techniques further infuriated Kimi Raikkonen later in the race, though race stewards did not take any action against the Dutchman.
Both Vettel and Raikkonen, who have combined for five world titles and 62 race wins so far in their careers, criticised Verstappen after the race but the teenager forcefully responded by saying they “should be ashamed” of doing so.
“Just as I witnessed with Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, [Max] is establishing a position in the psyche of all the other key players, 'I will fight you hard at every opportunity, beware’,” Brundle wrote in his latest Sky Sports column.
“Quite how he has the audacity and confidence to then accuse other drivers of wrecking his race and crying foul on Nico Rosberg in Hockenheim is both highly impressive and slightly alarming.”
Having criticised Verstappen’s ‘junior formula’ driving following a previous scrap with Raikkonen in Budapest, Brundle repeats that F1’s hottest property will eventually have to adjust his style to reach new heights.
“I said in my post-Hungary column that [he] would have to moderate some of his tactics, especially the very late move to defend a slipstream, because it will cost him results and could well end in a massive accident. I stand by that; if he wants to win multiple championships, he has to pick his fights a little more carefully.”