Verstappen lets rip about 'stupid' criticism of drivers

French Grand Prix: 2nd place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB14
© XPB 

Max Verstappen has been under fire on several occasions for mistakes and accidents during 2018, but on Sunday it was his turn to make a point.

He used Sebastian Vettel's first-turn clash with Valtteri Bottas at the start of the French Grand Prix to make it clear how he felt about recent media coverage of drivers.

"I think next time you see Seb you should ask him to change his style, y’know?" Verstappen told reporters at the post-race press conference after the race.

"Because honestly, it’s not acceptable," he said, causing a ripple among the audience. "That’s what they said to me at the beginning of the season, so I think they should do the same!

"And then, of course, Seb shouldn't do anything, and just drive again and learn from this and go on. That’s my advice to everyone in this room.

"Everybody was trying to go, to try and get a position," he added. "At the end of the day, you know, people can make mistakes. So, yeah, that happened."

Verstappen later expanded on the topic when he spoke to Sky Sports F1, saying he was fed up of all the criticism drivers faced in the press and on social media.

"It's really, really stupid," he said. "I'm not going to hold back on it because I really feel like that.

French Grand Prix - post-race press conference - Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen

"We are all human. I hope that when we get to Austria the journalists won't ask him if he's going to change his approach, because that's what I've heard for so many races and it really annoys me.

"They shouldn't do it at all. Mistakes happen, and it happens to the best of us, as you can see today," he pointed out. "It just makes me angry, because for sure it won't be as bad on him as it was for me.

"All the time they came to me [saying] that I should change my approach and all these stupid comments," he continued. "But I didn't change a thing, and now everything is going right.

"It's just annoying," he sighed. "You have to learn from mistakes, but you can't change your approach. You can fine-tune it, but 'change your style', all these sorts of things, it's nonsense."

The first corner incident between Vettel and Bottas had meant that the way ahead was cleared for Verstappen.

After that it was a relatively uneventful day for the 20-year-old who finished in second place behind Lewis Hamilton despite a late charge from Vettel's Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen on fresher tyres.

Acknowledging that the Red Bull didn't have the pace to challenge Lewis Hamilton to victory, Verstappen ended up having a quiet day at the office.

"I had a good race. I enjoyed that. Of course, I didn’t really have to work very hard for it but it’s always good to be on the podium.

"I tried to follow Lewis, of course he was controlling the pace," he added. "Lewis was just doing his race and I was doing mine and he was just controlling the gap. So, not much you can do. You just then have to focus on yourself to just drive a clean race."

After a rocky start to the year, Verstappen has now finished on the podium in three of the last four races and feels that his season is back on track.

Next up is Red Bull's home race in Austria, and the driver is looking forward to the opportunity to go one better than he managed at Le Castellet.

"Red Bull has been on the podium for the last two races out there," he said. "We are a bit compromised on the straights but somehow it was always not too bad.

"I’m also looking forward to the weekend because I think a lot of Dutch fans are coming out so a lot of orange around, so that’s always good."

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