Post-race interviews between Verstappen and the Ferrari drivers have been as heated as the battles on-track, but does Formula One’s new golden boy deserve the criticism?
Max Verstappen’s attacking prowess is impressive. On his day, he can dice with the best of them and the fearlessness of his youth gives him an edge on the offensive front. He has been consistent for Red Bull this season and has pulled some great moves in the RB12, (Silverstone…Rosberg) but it was last year in the Toro Rosso that Max attacked vigorously, shortlisting himself into a one-way ticket to promotion.
But attack is 50% of the game. Every Formula One driver needs to know how to defend. Read the driver behind, pick a defensive line into the corner and stick with it. Block the inside line and jeopardize your exit speed, or keep the door open and pray that you nail the undercut. The issue with Verstappen is that he reads the driver behind, then he reads the driver behind again, and then he reads him again. It creates the weave effect that we saw at Spa against Kimi.
It isn’t amazing defense either. It’s amateurish and belongs in the feeder series. Oh, another thing, by denouncing Verstappen’s defense, I am in no way a “pussy who should go watch badminton instead”. Most F1 fans are into racing, and weaving doesn’t make up the fabric of racing. Kimi had him on the straight and I would rather have seen an overtake into that corner instead of a desperate blockade. If you don’t like to see weaving, it doesn’t make you anti-aggressive race-craft. It just means you understand what constitutes as racing.
Toto Wolff said after the race that Verstappen “reminded him of Senna”. Do we need any more evidence that Wolff wasn’t anywhere near Formula One during the Brazilian’s dominance? He’s slapping the Senna label on everything anyway. Lewis – Senna. Max – Senna. This lampshade – Fucking Senna. Tactical awareness from the Wolff here, if he praises this bullshit, he’ll cause more pile-ups between Red Bull and Ferrari.
— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) August 28, 2016
I don’t actually blame Max or believe that he deserves the bulk of the criticism either. He’s young and hasn’t been punished as of yet for his defensive errors, so why should he stop? This race was a joke from this perspective. It’s as if the stewards looked out of their window, saw the army of orange in the crowds and said, “Nahh, we don’t want to get lynched, did you see anything Charlie? Nope.”
His supporters will continue to defend him, and alike to him, will weave from excuse to excuse. It will take something terrible to happen before these people change their perspective. Max has said that Kimi should “be ashamed” for his criticism, but that’s what happens when you give a teenage boy the keys to the championship and grant him immunity from penalties. Again, I don’t really blame Max, more the environment that encourages him to defend like a moron.