Verstappen should know he is a talented driver but he is not the only one.
There are very few things that unite the paddock and, the talent that Max Verstappen has is one such thing.
Since the time he has entered the Formula One, driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, he has impressed the F1 community. His ability won him so much praise that he was controversially elevated to the senior team, Red Bull, mid season. He responded this elevation with a race victory at Barcelona in 2016 and became the youngest driver to do so.
While in Barcelona his win came after Mercedes duo collided in the first lap. It could be argued that the race strategy by Red Bull favoured the youngster in his first race for team, but let’s not take anything away from him, he got the job done. He also impressed everyone later that season with his race craft in rain affected Brazilian Grand Prix. He started 14th on the grid, drove aggressively taking a different line than others, making unbelievable overtakes. He also overtook Nico Rosberg in a championship winning Mercedes. Only Lewis Hamilton was the only opponent he didn’t overtake that race. Ultimately he finished third, but showed why he was potential World Champion material.
His ability, race craft and, his talent was awarded with an extension of contract with Red Bull till 2020 ahead of his team mate and senior driver Daniel Ricciardo.
But Formula One is a brutal sport, one mistake and it can put your career on a downhill without giving you any opportunity to get back up, Danill Kyvat; case in point. The 2018 season has been disastrous for Verstappen and it’s difficult to assign blame anywhere apart from the young Dutchman. He’s made mistakes in every single Grand Prix this season, all have been disastrously costly, except in Spain where he managed to finish on the podium despite colliding with a Williams behind the safety car.
What is more glaring is that he is not learning from those mistakes. The mistake he made in the final practice of Monaco Grand Prix was exactly the same mistake at he made in 2016 at the same circuit.
Even though he keeps saying that he doesn’t need to change anything about the way he drives, sooner or later he is going to find out that’s not the correct approach. He has been criticised severely for moving too much under braking while defending. Those criticisms were valid. In Baku this year his style cost his team double DNF. Even though he was not penalised but almost everyone was of the opinion that he was mostly the driver at fault; Niki lauda assigned 70% of fault to him.
Verstappen has to understand that he is the talented driver but he is not the only one. Arrogance is a virtue of most drivers but lacking respect for your fellow drivers on circuit doesn’t bode well for a long, fruitful F1 career. There are other young drivers on the grid the paddock are impressed with. Charles Leclerc, for example, is getting all the praise and he has won accolades from the both Four time World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel during the Monaco Drivers presser.
Yes, every one wants to win races but showing such levels of desperation to win is not the way forward for any new driver, let alone one of 3 seasons of racing. Verstappen has been on the grid long enough to know what each race demands. He has to shed the tag of ‘young’ and it’s time for him to show some maturity, and wins will come.
— F1Writers™ (@f1writers) May 26, 2018
But one cannot help but start to think, if he keeps on making those errors, it will be end of road for him. Dr Marko will ensure that happens, contract or not.