An F1 legend has labelled Max Verstappen immature after the Dutchman was penalised for his role in a life-threatening crash.
Max Verstappen doesn’t yet have the maturity required of a championship-winning driver, according to a Formula One legend.
The Red Bull young gun leads the drivers’ championship by five points but has been criticised for his role in a life-threatening crash with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.
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Midway through the race, Verstappen and Hamilton found themselves racing each other down the straight at Monza before carnage ensued.
Hamilton was just in front going in to Turn 1 but Verstappen attempted to pass him on the tricky chicane.
However, there wasn’t enough room for Verstappen to overtake and he slid onto the bumpy “sausage kerbs” before colliding with Hamilton’s Mercedes on the tight corner.
Both cars were pushed off the track on to the gravel and the awkward crash left Verstappen’s Red Bull partially perched on top on Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Although the crash occurred at relatively low speed, it resulted in scary scenes with Verstappen’s right rear tyre making contact with Hamilton’s head, which was only protected by the “halo” mechanism on his car.
After the race finished, the stewards handed Verstappen a three-place grid penalty, effectively laying blame at the Dutchman. The sanction means Verstappen will start three spots below his qualifying position at the Russian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
Now Verstappen has been slammed by three-time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart for not checking on Hamilton’s welfare before storming back to the garage in a huff.
“Verstappen is taking longer than expected to mature,” Stewart told the Daily Mail.
“Not even to go to see Hamilton after a serious accident when you have just driven over the top of the guy is something I don’t really understand.
“Especially when he is still in his car and remained there for a long time before getting out. Max has quite a lot to learn. But who will he listen to?
“He’s very, very good. He’s probably the fastest driver on the grid now, but to be a proper champion you cannot be entangling yourself in crashes all the time.”
Stewart was surprised Verstappen only copped a three-place grid penalty from the stewards, who determined he was at fault for such a serious crash.
“The stewards have more information, but if they were so certain Verstappen was entirely to blame then why does he only get a three-place penalty?” Stewart said
“If it weren’t for the halo, Lewis could have died, and the supposed culprit only gets a slap on the wrist.”
Stewart believes both Verstappen and Hamilton were partially to blame for the scary crash.
“It was yet another experience of the two drivers being a little bit over anxious to get on with the job,” Stewart told talkSPORT.
“It was an early part of the race and not something you want to push too hard on to begin with.
“It’s a circuit where there is an opportunity to pass on one or two other areas.
“As in Silverstone when there was a collision between both drivers, I think both of those cases could have been avoided.
“They were both too early in the race to be really pushing in that fashion and situations where anybody could have been thrown in the air, upside down, it could have been a very serious situation.
“It would have been very difficult to say who was guilty. The governing body has made a decision, but it was such a weak penalty that only three places at the next Grand Prix Verstappen would have to move back. That’s a very small penalty.
“I think both drivers have to take some responsibility for it.”
Stewart believes the championship battle will go down to the wire but took another swipe at Verstappen, saying the 23-year-old is still in “the puppy stage” of his career.
The criticism could be a reference to the three occasions this season Verstappen has failed to a finish a Grand Prix, often due to his aggressive driving style.
“I think they (Mercedes) have the best package at the moment, but Red Bull have really shown themselves to be hot,” Stewart said.
“I think it will be between both of them. Verstappen, I think now is the fastest driver in the business, but is still slightly in the puppy stage.
“At the same time, Lewis may be approaching the end of his career in Formula 1, so I think the future holds more in the Verstappen field. But don’t count out Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton is an extremely good driver.”
Originally published as Max Verstappen still maturing and in ‘puppy stage’ of career, says F1 legend