Throughout his fledging Formula One career, Max Verstappen on the whole cultivated an image that portrayed him as unflappable and calm whatever the F1 circus throws at him. Yet as the spotlight falls ever increasingly on the double world champion there are chinks appearing in the serene manner in which Verstappen goes about his business.
Lewis Hamilton by way of contrast was often more reactionary when faced with adversity as per his infamous outburst following the 2011 Monaco GP.
Lewis Hamilton loses his cool
Back then Lewis was in no mood for pulling punches after what he described as a ‘shambles’ of a Monaco race, during which he claimed some of his rivals were ‘frickin’ ridiculous’ and the treatment he received from the stewards was ‘an absolute joke.’
Martin Brundle acerbically mused: “It can’t always be the other guy’s fault,” but surprisingly Hamilton disagreed.
When asked why he’d been called to the stewards 5 times in 6 races, Hamilton appeared speechless before infamously replying, “Maybe it’s because I’m black!”
Formula One needs Hamilton in a Ferrari
Verstappen shoves Esteban Ocon
Verstappen has always showed the full race of emotions on track whether its famously kicking his failed tyre in Baku or most famously at the 2018 Brazilian GP.
Max was cruising to victory when Esteban Ocon, a lap down but on fresh rubber, attempted to unlap himself. The resulting coming together handed Hamilton an easy victory.
The Dutchman understandably furious in the media pen, shoved Ocon and called him a “prick”. Yet these instances have been few and far between despite Verstappen been handed some hospital passes like the one from Hamilton in Silverstone 2021.
Verstappen camp recently whinging?
Yet this kind of argy-bargy is in a way acceptable in F1 when passions are high and tempers boils over. Michael Schumacher established himself the hard man of the paddock when he stormed down the pit lane and tried to punch David Coulthard at the 1998 race weekend in Spa.
However more recently, there have been instances where Verstappen and his camp have come across almost as complainers, offering back door explanations and even boycotts to events where Max appears to be misunderstood.
At last seasons US grand prix, Ted Kravitz in a tongue in cheek piece upset the Verstappen camp such that the entire Red Bull team boycotted all interviews with Sky F1 at the following race weekend in Mexico.
Hamilton retracts his apology to Mercedes
Red Bull boycott Sky F1
Kravitz ironic view of a potential script for Pitt, re-ran the theme of the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi season decider but described Lewis Hamilton as being robbed by Verstappen in an unfortunate turn of phrase.
Red Bull went to great lengths to oppose the trope used by Kravitz and insisted Verstappen did nothing wrong but play to the referees whistle.
This was followed quickly by the debacle in Sau Paulo where Verstappen was asked by the team to relinquish his sixth place to Sergio Perez. Both championships were secure by then and Red Bull were trying to engineer P2 in the drivers’ championship for Checo.
Verstappen refuses team orders
Max refused to comply and gave aa very public rant over the pit radio following the chequered flag as to why he had rejected such requests on previous occasions and that he “stood by his reasons.”
The optics of this skirmish didn’t reflect well on Verstappen, given he had nothing to gain or lose other than a P6 in a race that had gone badly for him.
Barely two weeks into the 2023 F1 season and once again the Verstappen camp is under the spotlight accused by some of unsporting behaviour.
Horner: Perez not good enough for fastest lap
Jos stony faced after Perez victory
Jos Verstappen was pictured stony faced in the Jeddah parc ferme amongst the Red Bull pit crew who were celebrating wildly with the race winner Sergio Perez.
Then in the post race press conference Verstappen who finished second behind Checo appeared unhappy. When asked why he wasn’t celebrating Max replied:
“Of course, in general, the whole feeling in the team, everyone is happy, but personally, I’m not happy,” Verstappen said.
“Because I’m not here to be second, especially when you are working very hard also back at the factory to make sure that you arrive here and in a good state, and basically, you know, making sure that everything is spot on.
Christian Horner has ruled out a move for Sir Lewis Hamilton to join Red Bull, with the Briton’s contract at Mercedes expiring at the end of the season ✍️❌ pic.twitter.com/rR7vorQtry
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) March 23, 2023
Rosberg criticises Verstappen’s attitude
“And then yeah, you have to do a recovery race, which I like, I mean, I don’t mind doing it, but it’s when you’re fighting for a championship and especially, you know, when it looks like it’s just between two cars, we have to make sure that also the two cars are reliable.”
Having watched the interview, Nico Rosberg criticised Verstappen’s attitude and revealed another back story supporting his opinion.
“It’s not good to see that really.”
“Yesterday [Saturday] he left the track very quickly and skipped the team meeting apparently, that’s what we’ve been told, and I think that’s not a good approach, not a good mentality this early in the season.
“And when the team has done such a brilliant job with that car, and is working so hard and everything, he could be a little bit more gracious maybe, I would say.”
“Anger” towards Rosberg in Verstappen camp
However, German media outlet Sport1 reveals there is “anger” towards Rosberg in an interview with Red Bull team consultant Helmut Marko.
The Austrian explains the gastric illness Verstappen was suffering during the Saudi weekend meant he was operating at only 80%. The inference being that Perez would not have held off Max over the closing laps had the Dutchman been in full health.
Marko reveals the team were so concerned about Verstappen’s state of health they flew in back up New Zealand reserve driver, Liam Lawson who drives in the Super Formula series in Japan.
Verstappen calls for a rule change
Verstappen so ill reserve driver flown in
Daniel Ricciardo the team’s other reserve driver was in Australia and will join the team for the upcoming Australian GP.
The Red Bull consultant reveals the team had insisted Verstappen leave for the hotel immediately after his elimination from qualifying to recover for the race s best he could.
Marko then states against this backdrop, “Nico Rosberg’s [opinion] could not be further from the truth” in his interpretation of Max’s attitudes or actions.
While the English speaking Sky viewers were left with Rosberg’s view of events in the post race analysis, Sky Germany had the benefit of Ralph Schumacher’s inside knowledge which corrected the view that Max had behaved in a petulant fashion.
Below par Max snatches fastest lap
Despite being below par, Verstappen snatched the fastest lap of the race from Perez as the chequered flag fell and Marko grinned remarking, “Typical Max.”
The Red Bull boss confirms Perez had attempted a quicker time on the penultimate lap of the race, “but made a mistake.” Sport1 amusingly ask whether it was because of “Verstappen’s hot breath that the Mexican felt in his neck?”
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How do Max’s balls taste Judge lol. Lick lick lick