Analysis: Max Verstappen faces backlash from F1 rivals after Monaco

From the outside looking in, for all the world it must appear as if the Formula 1 paddock decided to gang up on young Max Verstappen ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix

Analysis: Max Verstappen faces backlash from F1 rivals after Monaco

Following the shunt that turned the Monaco Grand Prix on its head and was the catalyst for Lewis Hamilton's fall from being a nailed-on winner to a how-did-that-happen third place, Verstappen has found himself in the spotlight.

It was certainly a spectacular accident, with the 17-year-old careering into the right-rear wheel of Romain Grosjean's Lotus, sending his Toro Rosso hurtling nose first into a barrier at Sainte Devote.

The incident sadly blotted Verstappen's copybook for his maiden outing around the streets of the principality, given his superb performance in finishing second quickest in first practice and 10th in qualifying.

It was a brave, bold attempt at an overtake from Verstappen, but then he had passed Grosjean's team-mate Pastor Maldonado at the same point on the circuit earlier in the race.

Second time around, it was an error of judgment, and it cost him dear.

So why the stern criticism from Jenson Button, Grosjean and Felipe Massa? The latter pair, of course, have their own history of incidents...

Perhaps Verstappen's age, and the fact he can get behind the wheel of one of the fastest cars on the planet yet legally still cannot drive unaccompanied on public roads, still makes the more experienced hands bristle.

In the immediate aftermath of the crash Massa, often fairly opinionated when it comes to viewing the conduct of other drivers on track, suggested Verstappen's driving was "pretty dangerous", before nailing his colours to the age-debate mast by then adding "experience counts in Formula 1".

Massa stood by his remarks in Thursday's drivers' press conference when asked, yet Verstappen managed to reply in kind by suggesting the Brazilian should "review the [Montreal] race from last year".

It was a cute comment about Massa's 2014 smash with Sergio Perez, but Verstappen has to be mindful of his quick wit because it was his loose tongue that proved his undoing post-Monaco.

To suggest he was braketested by Grosjean was a gross error of judgment, and on that Button was correct to criticise Verstappen because as the veteran noted "we're all grown-ups and we don't do things like that in Formula 1".

Verstappen will learn being media savvy comes as part of the job description of 'Formula 1 driver', particularly in a world where journalists feed on every word.

Where Verstappen needs to learn, and this was the point being made by Grosjean - in a considered way without any malice to his words - is from his mistakes, and with a degree of humility into the bargain.

Grosjean was not only disappointed by the braketest remark, but also by the fact Verstappen offered no apology for clearly being at fault given the stewards found him guilty.

Though involved in more accidents than most throughout his career, Grosjean has since matured on and off the track.

Verstappen will surely follow suit because with age comes experience, because it has to be remembered that despite the adult environment he finds himself in, he is still a head-strong teenager at the end of the day.

Remember when you were all bolshy at that age, believing you were always in the right and everyone else was wrong?

That's likely the way Verstappen feels at times, such as was the case in Monaco.

His peers right now are simply behaving like a parent trying to teach their errant teenage offspring the error of his ways.

shares
comments
Valtteri Bottas expects Williams F1 to beat Red Bull in Montreal

Previous article

Valtteri Bottas expects Williams F1 to beat Red Bull in Montreal

Next article

Nico Rosberg says Mercedes has addressed Montreal problem

Nico Rosberg says Mercedes has addressed Montreal problem
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021