Wolff says 'future champion' Verstappen needs to lose 'raw edges'

Paul di Resta (GBR) Sky Sports F1 Presenter with race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and second placed Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in parc ferme.
© XPB 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has added his voice to the ranks of pundits advising Max Verstappen to get on top of his tendency towards 'red mist' in crucial situations.

Wolff was responding to the events of the Brazilian Grand Prix in which Verstappen was spun out of the lead of the race due to contact with Estaban Ocon.

Although the incident was caused by the Force India trying to unlap himself, Verstappen was criticised by race winner Lewis Hamilton for not being more aware of the potential danger posed by the situation.

Verstappen subsequently had a physical altercation with the Frenchman in parc ferme for which he was handed two days 'community service' by the FIA. Ocon himself was given a ten-second stop-and-go penalty during the race for causing the collision.

Wolff said that the first 44 laps of the Brazilian GP proved the Dutch driver's huge talent, and that the rest would come in time with experience.

"You can see there is a future champion coming together - unbelievable talent and speed," he said.

"Once the raw edges are off, he will be somebody who will be a world champion one day," Wolff added.

"In a few years, he will look at the footage of [the race in Brazil] and maybe have his own opinion as to whether that was the right behaviour or not.

"But you can’t accelerate those things," he pointed out. "This is a learning process."

Wolff dismissed reported accusations from Red Bull motorsports consultant Dr Helmut Marko that Ocon had deliberately punted Verstappen off the track in order to help Hamilton win the race.

Marko suggested that Ocon had done so in order to ensure he would be handed a race seat with the Silver Arrows in 2020, but Wolff said that such suggestions were without foundation.

"This is how Dr Marko sees the world, and I want to leave it with that," he said. "I don’t want to go on this level."

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