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Verstappen under fire

Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen has been criticised by a number of drivers following his crash with Romain Grosjean in Monaco.

The 17-year-old had impressed everyone in Formula One since making his debut in Australia earlier this year, but appears to have scored several black marks against his name for both the crash in Monte Carlo and his reaction to it.

Most in the paddock believed the crash was avoidable, with Verstappen making a mistake going into the first corner alongside Grosjean.

Mistakes happen, especially for inexperienced drivers and the pace difference between the two cars, especially with Grosjean on an older set of harder soft compound tyres and Verstappen on a new set of super-soft tyres.

The Monaco stewards shared this view and have handed Verstappen a five-place grid penalty in Canada.

However the Toro Rosso driver has refused to hold his hands up and confess that he was in the wrong. He even went as far to claim on social media after the race that he was in fact 'brake tested' by Grosjean, pointing the blame squarely at the Lotus driver.

Those claims were quickly dismissed by Lotus with data proving Grosjean actually braked five metres later than on the previous lap.

Perhaps Verstappen's comment was in the heat of the moment and after a week of briefings with the team, perhaps now he will accept responsibility?

The answer in Canada at the FIA press conference was a firm no, with Verstappen still claiming he was not in the wrong.

'Everyone can have his opinion. But I looked at my data and I didn't brake any later. On the lap I crashed, it was exactly the same as the lap before.

'I didn't brake any later. If I had, then I could have said 'yeah, I made a mistake and crashed into him' but I didn't.'


Following the race Williams driver Felipe Massa, one of the current veterans of Formula One was critical of Max Verstappen and called upon the race stewards to penalise Verstappen, which they later did.

In the FIA press conference Massa was asked about his post-race comments and he said: 'When you're in your first year, 17 years old and if you do something like that and you're not penalised, that's completely wrong.

'The FIA needs to be strong in a proper way, which is what they did. We need to follow the rules. I said what he did was wrong.'


Verstappen then amazingly, almost like a child, hit out at Massa and tried to deflect blame once again by pointing the finger at Felipe Massa for a crash the Brazilian had in Monaco in 2014 with Sergio Perez.

'Maybe you should review the race from last year and see what happened there.'

Massa was cleared by the stewards for that incident, as Perez was penalised for changing his line in the braking zone, which is against regulations.

Massa dismissed the comments simply be referring to the facts: 'It was a little different, no? I was on the side and he [Perez] moved the car under braking.

'I don't think you should move the car under braking.'


Following the press conference, other drivers added their criticism of Verstappen.

2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button said: 'He's obviously inexperienced, it's easy to go and jump on the bandwagon with that.

'The thing is, you've got to be very careful with what you do say in the press.

'To point the finger at someone and say that they brake-tested you, that's serious. I don't think that happens in motorsport these days, we're all grown-ups and we don't do things like that in Formula 1.'


Romain Grosjean said: 'Max is really, really talented and what he has been doing is quite impressive, but he made a mistake. I find it disappointing that he doesn't learn from it.'








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday June 5 2015

Time: 10:00AM

 

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