Red Bull driver attacks media coverage of his move to RB14 with further controversy surrounding teenager
Max Verstappen, the 18-year-old Red Bull star, has attacked media coverage of his move to the front row of the grid for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, following in the footsteps of Ferrari’s five-times champion Michael Schumacher.
Verstappen is the youngest race winner on the current Formula One grid and only the third to be promoted to the front row in his rookie season, after Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber.
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However the Dutchman told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport that it was a strange to be compared to Schumacher.
“One question every interview would be: are you nervous? What is your pressure? Is it different than for a professional racing driver? And the answer I always said is yes. But that has no bearing on his world [Schumacher’s].”
Verstappen has already faced criticism for his post-race celebrations after winning the Belgian Grand Prix in August. He was pictured dancing, smiling and sucking on a bottle of champagne in front of a car driven by former Formula One race driver Guido Sarnac.
Verstappen also said he was “not completely satisfied” with his performances since, following two retirement flops. “It’s always possible to win a grand prix but I still can’t complain that it has not been a great season,” Verstappen told Auto Motor und Sport.
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The teenager said he was happy to line up in the second row this weekend at Monza with Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, saying: “Ricciardo knows what we can do here and it makes me happy to be competitive and fight.”
Verstappen also told the magazine he believed the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix should not have been red-flagged after his Red Bull crashed off the track, as it appeared to show on television.
Formula One pioneered a new entry direction with 2017 drivers, and after a three-year neutral rule era gave way to the formation of a three-tier grid with teams competing in a modular chassis with differing power units that are more closely monitored by engineers.