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F1: Max Verstappen has lots to learn before he will be world champion

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:08 IST

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco
F1 Grand Prix of Monaco

Red Bull Racing have a problem with Max Verstappen. The Dutch star is obviously extremely talented and has the raw speed to be world champion, but he makes too many mistakes, and that is hurting the team.

The difference between him and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo was demonstrated in Monaco this past weekend. Ricciardo set the pace in all sessions of the weekend, while Verstappen crashed his Red Bull in FP3 and finished the race only ninth. Meanwhile, Ricciardo won the GP.

Yes, rising from the bottom of the grid to points is a great achievement in Monaco, but Verstappen had the fastest car of the weekend. He could have won the race or finished second at the very worst. Remembering this, one can say his weekend was a huge disappointment.

Monaco was the latest of Verstappen’s errors this season after the races in Bahrain, China and Azerbajan, where he crashed with Ricciardo, although race stewards deemed both responsible for the crash. Verstappen’s errors are costly for the team. Crashes are expensive to repair, but even more importantly, these mistakes cost valuable points in the championship.

This being the case, it is no wonder that Verstappen’s mistakes have now caused even Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to suggest Verstappen might benefit from “a modified approach”, and according to him, Verstappen has a very good teacher in the other car, referring to Ricciardo. Horner calculated that the team have “given away probably over 60-65 points this year.”

World champion Nico Rosberg commented very bluntly about Verstappen. Here is what he had to say, according to Sky Sports: “I hope that he'll learn and if he ever wants to win the world championship, he has to start learning.” Rosberg also thinks Red Bull must be running out of patience with Verstappen.

The key word is, indeed, "learning". Verstappen’s error in Monaco was almost identical to his error in the same place in 2016. Nobody knows what goes on inside his helmet, but people have suggested that he is not patient enough.

However, while Verstappen admitted that the crash in 2016 happened because he was "too eager", he denies that this was the reason this time. He has reacted negatively to earlier suggestions that he should change his driving, but after the Monaco race, he had a different tone.

Here is what he had to say, according to “I didn’t want to go too risky and have a crash…Of course, these are not nice moments to learn from. But sometimes you do need to have these."


Only time will tell if the learning has now started.

Is Max Verstappen a Champion Material? Have your say in the comments.

Published 30 May 2018, 08:53 IST
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