FIA race director Charlie Whiting held a meeting with Max Verstappen to warn him about his driving ahead of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
Verstappen came in for criticism from a number of drivers for his defending against Kimi Raikkonen during the Belgian Grand Prix, but when justifying his driving the 18-year-old cited the fact that the stewards took no action. Whiting met with Verstappen and Red Bull team manager Jonathan Wheatley at Monza on Friday morning ahead of FP1, with team principal Christian Horner confirming it resulted in a soft warning for the Dutchman.
“I think Charlie was keen to show him a replay of Spa,” Horner told Sky Sports. “It was if you like a gentle warning to say: ‘Look, if you do that again that will probably be a black and white flag’. A bit of a warning, so I’m sure he has taken it on board.”
And Horner himself admits Verstappen was "right on the limit" when cutting across in front of Raikkonen on the Kemmel Straight, causing the Ferrari driver to brake.
“Max has made a late move there, right on the limit," Horner said.
“What I hadn’t realised is Kimi was instructed to give the place back, didn’t give it back until the bus stop chicane where he could then DRS up to La Source, DRS up to the top of the hill and that all added to the tension and frustrating with Max which was probably a contributing factor to why that move was on the limit.”
However, Horner says he has no problems with Verstappen's driving even if it cost the team points at Spa, saying he was blameless for the damage his car sustained and pointing to his lack of experience as a factor in some incidents.
“The car got damaged in the first corner which I don’t really feel was down to him, not at all. He’s young, he’s aggressive, he’s hungry and I think part of what makes him such an attractive driver is this sheer determination that he’s got.
"We often forget he’s 18, he’s in his third year of car racing so he’s learning all the time. Yeah, some of his moves have ruffled some of the more established guys, some guys have come out in support of him, but I think it’s a curve that he’s on that he’ll look back on that, he’ll learn from it and probably faced with the same scenario he maybe would have committed to that move a little earlier.”