Felipe Massa criticises Verstappen


Much of Formula One is about marketing, including headline-grabbing stunts like recruiting a 16 year old kid with just one season in single-seater racing as your driver.

There were a number of voices raising concern over the imminent arrival of Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso this year. The FIA even changed their super license regulations to ensure someone so young and with so little open wheel racing experience will ever again be seen in Formula One.

Max Verstappen will have the dubious honour of being the individual who spiced up one of the dullest F1 Monaco events for years. Tyre saving from the off was in evidence and as is usual overtaking was at an absolute premium.

The young Dutch driver’s collision with Romain Grosjean brought out the safety car, which sent Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton into melt-down. Verstappen was uninjured, but earned a slap on the wrist five-place grid penalty for the next race and two points on his license.

Felipe Massa is unimpressed by what happened and lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of young Max.

What happened was very dangerous,” said Massa. “It shows that maybe experience counts in F1.

“And I think to teach this type of accident they need to control it better, because it was very dangerous.

“It was lucky that he was not hurt because he could have been very hurt with what happened.”

“To be honest, he was not in the position to overtake, he was not even near to go inside. He was behind, so to be honest, it was too much what happened, you need to try to overtake when it is possible, not when it is impossible. Especially on the track like this.”

The FIA super license granting system that allowed Max Verstappen into Formula One does have a discretionary element, allowing the FIA to decline a candidate if they feel their application inappropriate.

Felipe Massa raised an interesting observation, when questioning if one so young was badly injured, the media would respond

“I think it was very dangerous for him, to be honest, because he is 17,” said Massa. “If he is hurt then everybody will talk about it.

“They will say, why give the licence to a guy who is 17 and he is doing that?”

Max was clearly fine after what was a heavy impact and will live to fight many more days.

Formula One has seen gung-ho driving from new participants before like Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and even Lewis Hamilton.

Yet like all the others, Max will be judged at the end of his first F1 season, by what he delivers for Toro Rosso along with his future potential. Verstappen at present is some way from being labelled a ‘Crashtor’, but there are still 13 races to go this year.

73 responses to “Felipe Massa criticises Verstappen

  1. I think its a bit cheap to put it down to his age. I’ve seen older men crash harder… but I do agree it is max who is at fault here.

    • The issue Mad Max has is that his father is watching over his every move. Jos is known for his temper and doesn’t speak to Max when he doesn’t perform. No wonder Max takes unnecessary risks. He is doing it for the approval of his father which could end badly (either with a public split or a breakdown).

      • @samonf1 If Max does not perform than that is not a reason for Jos to not speak to him. The example that was given in the Dailymail article (and in the Dutch media) that first spoke about this behavior from Jos made it clear that the reason why Jos did not speak to him was because he took too many risks while overtaking and that overtake went wrong and he crashed. With this Monaco crash he only made a mistake in judging where Grosjean probably was going to brake. You make it seem like Jos is some kind of monster dad that you usually see at the side of the football pitch, which isn’t the case. There are many interviews available of people who were with Jos and Max during Max his karting days that speak about a different kind of dad than the picture you have of Jos 😉 (fanatic yes, pushing no and Jos only gets mad with Max when he does something stupid. Not performing is not good enough a reason to get angry with Max)

    • No, it’s not about the age. Massa’s point was about Max’s inexperience, (only 1 season in cars).

      Massa’s criticism is (indirectly) aimed at Helmut Marko. Red Bull’s development program is concerned that too much junior formula stifles the championship winning drive and confidence needed (or desired) for their F1 team. So instead of risking / wasting MV’s confidence in a 2nd season of junior formula, Helmut gambled (experimented) by throwing MV in the deep end, in the belief he will grow faster in the middle of the F1 grid.

      In that context, Massa’s complaint can be seen as saying that the FIA was correct to tighten up the Super License rules in response to Helmut’s bold maneuver with MV. Massa’s concern are driven by self interest, as he (like many on the F1 grid) don’t want to be taken out by MV while he learns. Accidents like this are somewhat expected in junior formulas as part of the learning curve. But the levels of competition and expenses are much higher in F1, so learning curve mistakes are less expected and more painful.

  2. Felipe has a point in relation to Max’ inexperience. Few laps before the collision, the team informed him that Grosean was having problems with his brakes. Now a more experienced driver would’ve made allowances in the braking zone.

    With Grosean’s problem, it was clearly evident that he would not be able to continue braking in the same way he was before. He should’ve anticipated that Grosean would be braking earlier and made allowances for his closing speed.

    As Landroni had said previously, this was bound to happen at some point given the numerous ‘dive bombing’ braking manoeuvres he has been involved in……

    • Big deal, every one has to learn in his first year in F1. But because he is 17 year don’t mean he is an exception making a collision like this in his first year of F1. That’s why I really set some question marks by the remarks of Massa in the media. We all can remember how he suffer in F1 in his first year. Can you understand why I don’t take him that serious?

      • Well that’s clearly your choice, I’m merely saying he has a point. You cannot deny that youthful exuberance can sometimes get the better of him.

      • I’m in the other camp, I did jump up and down when he was first signed and wrote about how experience needs to be learned through the lower formula’s however..he has so far proved me wrong, he has something there that needs to be polished and honed and could become a shining star if the press just give him room. Then he does a Pastor and all the hard work is gone so my original observation stands,its not an age thing that I am against, its the experience. The new drivers need a set path to follow before they are given the keys to dads motor, formula ford,gp2 and maybe some life experience wouldn’t go amiss, this kid could go along way but as we have seen before,red bull have a habit of dropping their drivers into the shark tank and expect them to survive. It can’t be good for a young driver to reach the top while under 20 and then have nowhere to go when their services are no longer needed so they have to prove their metal in a year..hence some bloody reckless moves just to prove they can drive,its not fair on them,the other drivers or even the fans. Let’s just hope he has chalked this to experience and becomes more spacial aware(he lost a few front wings just doing the city meet red bull promo things)

        • Grosean was not the only driver to have been rear ended by Max, he also did a ‘Pastor’ on Pastor himself as early as lap 5-6 resulting in the loss of his front wing….

          Same mistake twice in one race and against the same team.

          Youthful exuberance….

    • Yes, he was at fault but even with a racing incident, most oftenly one driver is considered “at fault”. As for the dive bomber overtaking; how is it that we saw no locking wheels? Clearly he did those manoeuvres within the mechanical grip of the car and track so he merely showed how far some others were from the limit. F1 should be about driving on the limit (apart from fuel- and tire management).

    • Whilst we could put it down to inexperience there’s been plenty of other examples of people with experience doing very similar things.


      Even my fave Button has done it this year…

      • And Jenson also did it on a Lotus…. They seem to have issues with their braking systems, I hope they are actually safe as a car that slows unpredictably is a danger to other drivers…

  3. Now that Rubens Barichello isn’t there anymore to give his two cents, it seems Felipe Massa has taken up his fellow countryman’s job. That’s what this feels like to me.

    I personally see this crash a lot more relaxed and so do other people as well. Alex Wurz, in his position as commentator for the Austrian ORF, said that it wasn’t more than a racing incident. Verstappen misjudged his overtaking maneuver by half a meter and if not for that he would have out-braked Grosjean into the first corner.

    My personal follow-up on that: I’m uncertain if he would’ve managed to actually slow down in time, but he wouldn’t be the first person this weekend to fail taking the first corner properly. At least in a fight with another driver and a less than ideal angle, Verstappen would have had good reasons whereas someone like Rosberg only had himself to blame in Qualifying. The result of the crash is unfortunate, but he’s light-years away from behaving like Grosjean at his worst.

    • It is a bit hard to take comments like this seriously from the man that has been involved in numerous unforced crashes.

      Anyway, in addition to Wurz’ observations, the comments from Jan Lammers are interesting: “When you ‘out brake’ someone, you move and brake. Max brakes and thèn moves to avoid impact. (clearly on video) All because he didn’t expect it! Race incident, no one to blame”. (from his FB…)

  4. Massa should shut the f*ck up and try to be faster himself. Mr Massa has always had problem with overtaking, it’s pure jealosy right there from our 30 seconds-WDC ….. sucker he is.

    And Grosjean is an idiot to have done what he did. What the hell was he thinking? I’d bet Jos would punch his stupid French face to the EifelTower…. he’d better watch out.

    • “Massa should shut the f*ck up and try to be faster himself. Mr Massa has always had problem with overtaking, it’s pure jealosy right there from our 30 seconds-WDC ….. sucker he is.

      And Grosjean is an idiot to have done what he did. What the hell was he thinking? I’d bet Jos would punch his stupid French face to the EifelTower…. he’d better watch out.”

      lol, how did this post get through moderation?

    • Please cut the misplaced chauvinism – it looks ugly and reflects badly on our great country, which is so known for its cheese-headed common sense and pragmatism.

    • At the end of the day safe overtakes always responsibility of driver behind. It was a desperate move and he got caught out, as has been predicted for some time. With luck he will learn from the experience and expand his arsenal of overtaking maneuvers.

      • pretty much. this was verstappens more spectacular version of the learning experience sergio perez had with kimi in monaco not too long ago. that move worked very well for him for a couple of races, but only because other drivers avoided a crash. now he knows why not everybody does it, and why it should be a move pulled off in exceptional circumstances and not your regular go to maneuver to overtake.

    • The telemetry would likely show that Grosjean had a break problem or his tyres were shot. Verstappen needs to stop bitching to the press and accept it was his fault.

      • I have a sneaking suspicion that every now and again young Max forgets that it’s the *left* foot that applies the brakes in an F1 car 😉

      • Fair enough. He was one of the only interesting things to watch the whole weekend. Too bad it all went pear shaped. The kid has a future, no doubt about that. What was I doing at 17? Hoping everyone would like me. Quite amazing what he’s done so far.

        • Oh please what Max is doing in F1 is no more impressive than 16 yr old Fabio Quartararo in Moto3

      • He was smart enough to not brake earlier. He just didn’t use his throttle. And yes, then you don’t throttle, you slow down just a bit. Enough to panic someone close behind you.
        When your speed is down a little bit, then you are able to brake just a little bit later (as the earlier lap). So Grosean is a big ***.

  5. Cynical to suggest it, of course, but: “old” driver toward the end of his career (thinking of next year’s seat already?) throws some mud at the younger generation…any self interest there? Otherwise why say it? I’d much rather watch a young gun trying and failing to get past, than a senior citizen who thinks that it’s impossible to pass in Monaco.

    • Hamilton’s only 30, hardly a senior citizen 🙂

      But yes, I agree it is more fun to watch a young charger like Ricciardo in a red bull pull off an aggressive overtake on a Ferrari than watch a Mercedes driver moan it’s impossible to pass a Ferrari!!

      Criticism for me should have nothing to do with age, merely actions, the fact that Max hit the back of one lotus with brake trouble already should have given him a hint that he can’t expect the car in front to always do what he wants. Ah well, he’ll learn.

  6. It was a gutsy move from STR to try something different and go for a aggressive strategy for Max. It required aggressive driving and that is not suitable for Monaco. It did provide some entertainment for what would become a boring race anyway. So I’m glad STR did try it, but if it was me on the pitwall I would have played it safe and kept Max behind Bottas.
    The team took a gamble, double or nothing. Max did make the mistake, but which driver could have made this strategy work?
    And the crash was hard, but not on the Verstappen scale. Compared to the first race (and crash) of Jos (Brazil 94) it was not such a big deal.

  7. A certain Australian driver who I detest flew over Kovalainen, don´t remember age was taken into consideration, but judging by his comments, senility could be a factor.
    Max is new to F1 and will learn the limits, Crashjean himself a good example.

  8. A dark feeling has insidiously and surreptitiously snuck into my cold soul of late. I’ve been shackled with a deep sense of foreboding, one that has reached the deepest darkest recesses of my tortured psyche. A premonition… yes, a vision that the battle with the Hamfosi of the past half-decade or so will pale into insignificance compared to the onslaught of the Maxfosi. A foe of such potential strength, the likes of which we have not faced before. Perhaps not even in the Schumacher/Tsifosi era.

    It was already thought the ongoing war between the Federation (normal F1 fans) and the Klingons (Hamfosi) has been epically brutal; so much so that the CIA has characterised this war – one that’s been raging unabated since 2007 – and the sheer power of the various engagements to be akin to the ferocity seen when three hundred Spartans engaged tens of thousands invading Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae.

    But there is a new enemy… A darkness so dark, even the darkest thing you’ve ever seen seems joyfully luminescent. The Borg (Maxfosi) are coming… They are clandestine at the moment; but those who’ve engaged them – and lived to tell the tale – come back speaking in tongues. In the rare moments of lucidity, they speak of cold, heartless, all-singing-from-the-same-hymn-sheet, looking-to-assimilate-Federation-and-Klingon-alike, Borg cannily resembling the Dutch.

    We should take this threat as seriously as if the threat has been given directly to us on the seventh day of the month by Apollo’s mouthpiece, Pythia, the oracle at Delphi. Internet administrators and moderators alike will not have seen an unquenchable fury such as this. I remember in decades gone by, the father of Verstappen, essentially achieving nothing combined with an infant Internet… My lord, the Borg then were as rabid as if he were a 10 time world champion.

    But there is a panacea… Before every F1 forum is under the control of the Borg (Maxfosi), before every poll has the one they call ‘Verstappen’ at its top by heinous amounts, before every person who dare utter the name of ‘Verstappen son of Verstappen’ in vein is assimilated, we must unite and establish preemptive protective measures prior to a full blown Borg invasion. It begins at TJ13.

    The solution is simple; I propose… ‘عدو عدوي هو صديقي’ or, ‘Adu ‘Aduyi Hooweh Ssadikki or as you might know it, ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend’…

    It’s an ancient Arabic proverb, from about the 4th Century BC – give or take – and it is what will bind us, the Federation (Normals) and the Klingons (Hamfosi) against the coming Borg (Maxfosi) threat. Though I prefer the oft phrased modern version, “the enemy of mine enemy is my friend” – it’s more cinematic, I think.

    Only together, ‘Normal’ and ‘Hamfosi’ united, Federation and Klingon united, can we fight off the threat of Borg-led, ‘Verstsppen son of Verstappen’ assimilation in cyberspace.

    I was around during the ‘Schumacher-Tsifosi Wars of the Scuderia’. At that time the Internet was in its infancy, but the blood that was shed and the brutality remains with me to this day. To see pro-Hakkinen commenters attacked by a group of Schumacher Tsifosi and left for dead, or an innocent Ferrari/Schumacher Tsifosi simply enjoying Suzuka 2000, and out of nowhere a throng of Coulthard West McLaren Mercedes punks dismember the poor commenter online; it’s never left me… The cyberspace brutality was unspeakable in the unmoderated world.

    I have also been an observer since Hamilton entered F1 and ignited a new war. The War of the Hamfosi… we’re all too familiar with it, but today it stops. And I’ll tell you why.

    Earlier today, on Twitter, I saw Cavallino Rampante say the following…

    @CavallinoRampa2: @SpannersReady @ajHuntF1 @mattpt55 @DigitalLawUK Spammers Ready is really Fortis96 under a different name

    And Spanners Ready respond…

    @SpannersReady: @CavallinoRampa2 @ajHuntF1 @mattpt55 @DigitalLawUK lol. Nice one.

    To which I said…

    @WTF_F1: @SpannersReady @CavallinoRampa2 @ajHuntF1 @mattpt55 @DigitalLawUK It’s ok Richard… You are not alone! #JeSuisFortis

    And I realised, in that moment, as I said it, that we all have to be as Fortis is because what we’ve seen in the War of the Hamfosi will be nothing compared to the Borg Maxfosi. They will destroy all they see every time Max scores a single point, or makes a dive-bomb overtake, or is impugned by a rival somehow. We have to be resilient, ever-present, never ending… We must endure, as Fortis does. #JeSuisFortis

    This is what will unite us, we must merge and become each other to fight; #JeSuisFortis. You are Fortis, I am Fortis, we are all Fortis… We have to be. Hamfosi’s will become Normal, Normal’s will become Hamfosi’s, just as Dr. King dreamed… We will face the Borg Maxfosi, assimilators for ‘Verstappen son of Verstappen’, and win – or come home on our shields.

    Who’s with me – #JeSuisFortis!!!

    You think the War of the Hamfosi has gone on long enough? Max is only 17! This coming war could become deeper and longer that anyone has seen before, and with more rabid fans than the Hamfosi – or the Schumacher Ferrari Tsifosi before that – I can assure you. If you want to hand your children an F1 where all avenues of cyberspace are Borg Maxfosi filled, assimilating or destroying all separate fan groups, as we are now, then fine. But, if you dream – as I do – to hand your children an F1 where Hamfosi and Normal can live in harmony, where we are united, where they know not of an F1 cyberspace filled with fanboi war, then announce yourself under the banner #JeSuisFortis. Together we can herald in an era without the crazy deluded screams of the most fanboi-afflicted group of any specific driver. Or we can enter what could be a near two decade period of an unspeakable dystopian F1 cyberspace.


    • The Klingons (Hamfosi) accepts The Federations call to unite against the invading Borg armada. We will not be assimilated…..

      #jesuisfortis….. 😂😂😂

    • Nowhere is this invasion more evident is in the DoTW voting.

      So far he has been out qualified, out scored and out raced by his fellow unrecognised rookie team-mate….

      So’wl’ ylchu’……

    • ‘NO! NOOOOOOOOO!!!I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again.The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!’,rousing words from the federations balding captain,however,we of the ferengi alliance must remind you of rule 76 of the good book,make peace once in a while, it confuses the hell out of your enemy😇

    • Very nice story.. beautifully phrased.. I only noticed one (1) mistake. You wrote: “from about the 4th Century BC – give or take – and…”.
      Please, do write in future times ‘give or overtake’. Sorry for this joke but one of our Maxifosi better slogans is: “overtaking is an art”.
      Oh.. eh.. yes.. and my name is Bons not Borg (Borg is from Sweden).

  9. Massa seems to forget that he ran into the back of Perez last year. And it has nothing to do with inexperience, just a bad judgement call, as similar crashes of Webber (Valencia 2010), Schumacher (Singapore 2011 and 2012) and even Grosjean himself in Monaco 2013 show.

    • I also have some vague recollections of Massa’s early F1 career where he spent a good portion of the time flying off the track all on his own.

      He’s getting older, has never really been able to match his team mates, and whines endlessly with nothing ever being his fault. There’s too much talent waiting to get into F1 for this never-was old geezer to be taking up a decent race seat.

  10. One of the old men of Formula1 seeking to extend his F1 career. “I am experienced, please keep me!” Would Massa be in F1 without his Brazil sponsorship money?

    Go on Max! Spiced up a rather booooring race. Too bad Hammy lost out but gave us something to talk about!

  11. At the very moment of the incident, I did think RoGro had applied his brakes quite a bit earlier than on the previous lap as we had followed them through T1 on the lap before.
    I’m not saying Max was innocent in the episode, but he, in my view, was not 100% responsible, maybe just 90%. 😜

    • While it is hard to be definitive due to the nature of the ‘straight’ before Ste Devote, it looked a bit like RoGro did a swap from one side to the other. A good compilation of the various angles is at:

      Looks like he darts right then moves left again. If you look at it, Max tries to go down the outside initially then Grosjean moves back to take the line and Max has to go for the inside but has too much speed to avoid hitting him.

      This is the problem really, not many other places to try an overtake but it is so easy to wander down the middle here and block all lines. Someone a bit stricter might have done Grosjean for two changes of direction but they were so subtle that it is difficult to pin that on him.

      Personally, I’d put this at 60/40 on Max. A bit too opportunistic but Grosjean forced him in to an accident rather than just a failed overtake.

      • Grosjean was entitled to first close off the inside and then retake the racing line. At all points Maximilian was behind him; it’s not like Max was standing in his way when Grosjean took back to the left. If anything his retaking the racing line would have made the accident less likely.

        “Max has to go for the inside but has too much speed to avoid hitting him”

        And there is your problem. Max shouldn’t have had so much speed so as to hit Grosjean if there was no way through. Grosjean had a right to defend the corner, but Max had no right to tailgate so closely and with so much speed.

        “I’d put this at 60/40 on Max. A bit too opportunistic but Grosjean forced him in to an accident rather than just a failed overtake.”

        That’s generous, I reckon; 100/0 on Max would be more like it. And Grosjean didn’t “force” Max into anything. It’s not the first time this season that Max puts other drivers in a position to either generously let him through, or have an accident. If Max keeps at it, it ain’t gonna be the first “failed overtake” that Max has this season…

        • I thought only one change of direction was allowed? Although, as I pointed out due to the nature of this piece of road a change of direction doesn’t need to be very great to achieve what Roman did.

          I think we’ll have to disagree here – there is a point where you can either pick a line and stick to it, or keep moving to prevent an overtake. If you are going to say Max had too much speed then you might as well call the result of any race after the first corner as you need an excess of speed over the leading driver to get past him.

          Grosjean could have stayed right and let Max try the outside or end up in the escape road, or he could have stayed left and let Max jump the kerbs and be told to give the place back. He decided to take up as much road as possible and move after Max had committed.

          • Even when there is a driver on that line approaching much quicker with no way to bail out? On most circuits Max could have just taken to the grass, at Monaco both drivers need to be a bit more circumspect and especially if the lead driver knows he has a brake issue he needs to make sure a driver who will be faster can avoid him.

            If nothing else, Roman was lucky he could carry on without damage. He could well have taken himself out as well as Max.

          • “Even when there is a driver on that line approaching much quicker with no way to bail out?”

            Drivers shouldn’t be “approaching much quicker with no way to bail out” in the first place. It isn’t Romain’s responsibility to ensure that the car behind him drives safely, and respects a safety distance, and has sufficient space and time to brake and avoid rear-ending the car in front. Even more so at Monaco, where Max should have made more allowances than usual (e.g. grass vs barriers).

            When clearly in front, Romain (or anyone else) drives as he needs to drive, and he must not care what the car behind is doing. If you need to brake, you brake; Romain’s responsibility is first and foremost not to end up in the barriers himself. Only the moment the car behind gets side-by-side, things change. But Max never got into that position, and he had a car stuck right in front of him.

            As the car behind, Max’ responsibility is to make sure he has sufficient distance/time to make adjustments at any time, if needed. And if he embarks on an overtake, he must ensure that he can do so safely and back down if need be to avoid the overtaking manoeuvre going pear-shaped. Unless the defender clearly veers into the attacker into the braking zone (think Prost on Senna in 1989 or Perez on Massa in Canada 2014), which Romain didn’t do, it’s pretty much always the fault of the attacker.

          • “he has a brake issue he needs to make sure a driver who will be faster can avoid him.”

            And here too I disagree. It’s the responsibility of the attacker to embark on an overtake when it’s safe to do so, and make allowances for the issues the other car may be having. Just because you’re quicker doesn’t give you the right to barge in on other cars. Hamilton was miles quicker than Vettel after the safety car; doesn’t mean Vettel must stop defending and wave him through…

          • Have you watched the video I linked to? The last clip shows very well what I’m talking about. Romain was to the right, Max was approaching much quicker on the normal racing line. Romain moved across in front of him.

            Yes, it was re-taking his line but it left Max with nowhere to go. His options were to hit the barrier and hope he didn’t ping across the track in to someone, or swerve right and try and avoid Romain which he did but couldn’t move fast enough.

            What you are saying is basically prohibiting any overtaking at Monaco. There will always be somewhere you can put your car that will prevent an attack if such attack is made with the option to bail out.

            I was once told that the only defence you have against being at-fault if you rear-end someone is if that person cuts infront of you in such a way you can’t avoid them. Pretty much what Romain did…

          • “Yes, it was re-taking his line but it left Max with nowhere to go.”

            Max shouldn’t have put himself into such a position. He misjudged the move.

            “What you are saying is basically prohibiting any overtaking at Monaco.”

            As Seb would say, tough luck. There are precious few overtaking spots at Monaco. The most popular one is the chicane after the tunnel (T10), and we know how that ended up for Perez. The 2nd one is Rascasse, at T17. That’s pretty much it. Some will banzai at T5. But St Devote at T1 isn’t one of them. If you want to go by at T1, you must have completed the pass (i.e. get side-by-side) before getting there (i.e. on the straight). Young Max didn’t.

            “the only defence you have against being at-fault if you rear-end someone is if that person cuts infront of you in such a way you can’t avoid them. Pretty much what Romain did…”

            Romain didn’t cut in front of Max; Romain retook the normal racing line, as he was entitled. (He was also entitled to use the barriers to defend the corner.) But if Max didn’t get by his side by that point, it means that he completely misjudged his overtaking manoeuvre (speed, distance to car, distance to corner). He simply dive-bombed, and in that case the blame is squarely on his young and tender shoulders. Drivers in front should NOT be driving depending on what the driver behind might or might not do (think Kimi and the “idiot” Perez at Monaco 2013). By the time Max got close to Romain, he had no claim to the corner or the racing line. By default any contact will be his fault.

            This wouldn’t be the first dive-bomb Max did this year, but so far all ended happily for him. In Malaysia, he dive-bombed at one point in T5; a slight misjudgement and he would have rear-ended the car in front. In China, he dive-bombed against a Sauber in T14; the Sauber gracefully indulged, but he didn’t have to as any contact would have been Max’ fault. And now we have T1 at Monaco.

            Bottom line, as far as I’m concerned:
            Drivers in front can drive as if there were no other car on the road (until a car pops up alongside them, of course). Drivers behind can NOT drive as if there were no other car on the road. If they’re quicker, good for them, but they must always drive given the constraint of the slower car stationed in front of them. If they can mount a clean pass, good for them; but if they can’t, tough luck. And if they rear-end, it’s most always their fault.

            This ain’t gonna be the first lesson for the young padawan. Especially when other drivers learn his theatrics, and start closing the gaps. If Max keeps at it, it won’t be the last rear-end at his hands that we’ll see.

  12. One season in open wheel racing and a 3rd place finish at that. And for a first season the deserved nothing more than a prolonged golf clap, we have a 17-year old competing in F1.

    Meantime a quality driver like Jolyn Palmer must stoop to pilfering precious practice time from the Lotus driver who isn’t a petulant arsehat.

    The Max and Jo scene reminds me of all the tennis parents who ruined their children’s love of the sport

    Here’s to hoping Max V. doesnt end up a casualty.

    • Max actually had the most wins in that season and the longest winning streak that the series has ever seen. The 3rd place was caused by lesser results in the first few races of the season (plus mechanicals later), which is hardly a big deal for a driver new to open wheel racing. Such a short time to adapt is actually an argument in his favor, IMO.

      So it actually was a very impressive result and just looking at the final standings is a pretty dumb way to judge a racing season for a rookie.

      I do agree that he had very limited open wheel racing experience when he moved to Formula 1, but the argument that he didn’t have impressive results is nonsense if you actually look at his (karting and open car) seasons in detail, rather than look at his Wikipedia page.

      Finally, your attack on Jos ignores the statements made by Jos that he never pushed Max into racing and Max himself doesn’t seem to be forced into it. It also has little do to with the topic, since Jos would still be helping Max with racing if Max was still riding in Formula 3. If anything, the move to Formula 1 actually made Jos much less involved in the racing career of his son.

  13. How many years of GP2 and such had Grosjean and how old was he when he entered his first crash-happy first year in F1? And Massa’s comments…. The 20 year old debutant who made a mess in a fight with Delarosa in 2002 and got a 10 place grid penalty after which the team replaced him with Frentzen….. I guess he was to young too. Hypocrite.

    • Grosjean: Champion: 2005 French Formula Renault, 2007 French Formula Renault Eurocup, 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series, 2010 Auto GP, 2011GP2 Asia and 2011 GP2.

      Note: Grosjean made his maiden F1 appearance in 2009. He was called up by Renault where he participated in races 11-17 as a replacement for the dropped, Nelson Piquet, Jr. Age: 23. Got sent down to the minors for two more years, where he promptly won three championships in those three years.

      Massa: 2000 Italian and Euro Formula Renault Champion; 2001 Euro Formula 3000 Champion. 1st F1 appearance – age 21.

      Verstappen: 2014 FIA Formula 3. F1- age 17.

      • And yet both these experienced drivers made a mess of their first Formula 1 season. So that makes all these complaints about experience or age so dumb.

        You also ignore Verstappen’s karting results, showing that you have an ax to grind and aren’t being reasonable.

        • I’m not ignoring karting experience. However, karting and F1 aren’t kissing cousins. That’s why there are so many racing series offered between the two.

          What you’re missing is that, with more extensive prior open wheel experience under one’s belt, the learning curve at the level of F1 is not nearly as steep – and not as long in time as it is without. And no amount of time at the wheel of a simulator can be exchanged for actual race conditions.

          And don’t assume I have some sort of “ax to grind” with or concerning Max Verstappen. His name could be Ax Beflappin, I don’t care. I do, though, notice after my previous comment you commented directly after but seem to have missed my mention of the father-son dynamic at play.

          What I do care about is the safety of the drivers around him and what we will likely see in the push to find, or for parents to attempt to “create” the next Max Verstappen (though at age 18), both of which are negative and dangerous precedents set by his way premature inclusion in F1. In another individual sport, tennis, there are thousands of destroyed lives of young people and shattered child-parent relationships for every one success. The F1 driver’s club is even more exclusive than is the equivalent for tennis, which makes for an even more potentially dangerous proposition for all involved.

          • I did react to the father/son dynamic further above, although it was the silliest part of your post really. A huge number of pro-athletes start off as children and require large amounts of support from their parents to ferry them to national events, support their training, pay for their material, etc. Car racing has this more than most and obviously Max had a huge leg up due to the expertise of his dad.

            It can be hard to distinguish between the desires of the parents and the desires of the child, especially since the two are often intertwined. However, I think it is unfair to automatically assume that a child is being forced and this assumption can only lead to children playing video games and never achieving anything. I’d rather see child prodigies, than shut down all ‘adult behavior’ in children, which seems a lot more damaging. Besides, your argument that this dynamic shatters child-parent relationships seems simplistic, since this intense cooperation between parent and child can just as easily be argued to bring them closer together. Plenty of sportspeople seem to have good relationships with their parents and plenty of non-sportspeople have damaged relationships with their parents.

            But again, none of this has anything to do with Max’ F1 debut, since none of this would be different if he was still karting or in F3.

            As for the safety, you have provided zero evidence why Verstappen would drive more dangerously than Maldonado or a first season Massa or Grosjean. The evidence seems to indicate that some drivers are inherently more dangerous than others and many new F1 drivers make plenty of mistakes regardless of the amount of earlier experience.

  14. I don’t think Max should be treated any differently from other drivers who’ve made errors like this. Maldonardo, Grosjean, Schumacher etc etc…. they all got penalised for their errors and rightly so.

    Judge the incident not the person nor their age. To do differently is applying bias to the sport.

    • I don’t know that anyone is judging Max V. personally. He is, though, only 17. Even the best of 17-year olds have problems making consistently good decisions. And in a sport like F1 where decisions must be made in thousandths of seconds, experience is at a premium. It is also important to note that Max hasn’t even learned how challenging it is to win or place consistently enough to earn an open wheel champion.

      Verstappen is incredibly young with next to no open wheel car experience. And to repeat, it’s not as if he proved himself a savant by winning in his sole open wheel racing season. Trial by fire at the pinnacle of motor racing is definitely not where on-the-job training should occur. F1 not the place where drivers get enough repetitions to when to and when not to make decisions that can possibly take someone’s life – or your own.

    • Exactly. Any driver can make an error (and pretty much all do). So judge him on his season, not 1 incident.

  15. As I’ve commented elsewhere, take a look a https://youtu.be/V_Xh3kMiGT0 and tell me that Grosjean didn’t initially move right before re-taking his line. You can see Max going for the outside before this is blocked off leaving him little chance of avoiding the back of the Lotus.

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