Did Verstappen try to match Michael Schumacher’s antics or did he just finally grow up?

Josie Clarey asks “Crash decision or nod of approval?” as Sebastian Vettel’s nose doesn’t come off his Mercedes and William Fichtner threatens to let a fight go:

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen told Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag that he can’t be compared to fellow world champion Michael Schumacher, the subject of ongoing doping and doping-related accusations. “If he is in a better shape, it’s not for me to judge,” Verstappen told the newspaper in the interview, in which he discussed his trash talk with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel during the Belgian Grand Prix. Verstappen accused Vettel of starting a “s*** storm” among F1 fans by claiming he had started what many people believed was a deliberate crash with Verstappen in Montreal to “boost” Ferrari’s chances of winning the race. “The same couldn’t be said for Michael, I can’t see him doing that,” he said. “Schumacher has been very clear in the past that I’m not the guy to compare with him, so I won’t criticize his fitness either.”

William Fichtner, one of Michael’s McLaren team mates and now best known for playing the Scarecrow in the “Batman” films, warns that a full-fledged fight could ensue if Verstappen tried to follow Michael’s example.

Formula One has a tradition of throwing street fight, and since Max has started this bull shit lately, he could be next. pic.twitter.com/Go7dqYqBco — William Fichtner (@thewilliamfichtner) September 2, 2015

Verstappen’s comments aside, the Times notes some interesting context to Vettel’s tangent and accuses the Ferrari driver of perpetuating a controversial driver name that has history on its side:

Even within F1, there is still some scepticism about Mr Verstappen’s claims. At Monaco two years ago, he and Kimi Raikkonen were seen driving dangerously into the forest to avoid a collision with each other. In Britain in 2012, the younger driver was penalised for a dangerous driving incident with Jenson Button and this year at Silverstone, Mr Verstappen was reported to be involved in a nasty scuffle with Daniel Ricciardo, both amid some angry shouts and gestures, both citing their mutual dislike of each other. At first, it seemed the dispute would spread to F1’s social media sphere, as Mr Button, for one, suggested it had done previously. Mr Verstappen seems to agree. Last week, he tweeted that they had parted after “a long tussle,” although he failed to quote him. After F1’s debut on YouTube in 2012, Mr Button claimed it made the sport’s sport feel like watching match darts, but this year he is happy to be of it. “We’ve changed online,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got some of the best personalities out there now. Nowadays I think it’s very good for the sport.” Indeed, well-connected fans are frequently far more careful about what they write than once were.

What do you think about Verstappen’s first attempt at Schumacher criticism?

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