Wolff: Verstappen reminds me of Lewis and Ayrton
Max Verstappen earned the wrath of Ferrari and their ‘veteran’ drivers after another incident packed grand prix for the Dutch teenager, this time during the Belgian Grand Prix.
Verstappen was central to a Turn 1 collision involving both Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in the melee. Also later on in the race the Red Bull driver’s aggressive defensive tactics were questioned by a furious Raikkonen.
But Verstappen’s ballsy approach to racing has earned him an admirer in the form of Mercedes F1 team chief Toto Wolff.
“Maximum attack!” said Wolff of Verstappen’s tactics. “He’s refreshing, for me. He’s a young boy that I like a lot. He comes in here, no fear, no respect, puts the elbows out and it reminds me of the great ones.
“It reminds me of Lewis, it reminds me of Ayrton Senna and you can clearly see that some guys around here are starting to think twice how to overtake him. Until now all that has proven that he’s on the right track.
“The FIA has not penalised it, the only thing that happened is he was given a hard time in some driver briefings, maybe next time he’s going to have an even harder time in the next driver briefing.”
“I just fear that it might end up in the wall heavily one day. As much as we like his [unpredictability] … for me it’s refreshing but it’s dangerous.”
Wolff explained why the Turn 1 incident was a stroke of good fortune for the world champion team, “I think Turn 1 was more helpful because it wiped out three of our direct competitors. Unfortunate for them but obviously they would have been between Nico and Lewis towards the end of the race.”