Max Verstappen has been put under extreme scrutiny following his accident with Romain Grosjean at the Monaco GP, which prompted the safety car and indirectly caused Lewis Hamilton to pit and concede victory to Nico Rosberg.
Verstappen originally hinted Grosjean brake checked the 17 year old rookie, "I braked in the same spot like the lap before but he clearly braked 10-15 metres earlier. When it is that close, you have no room. He caught me by surprise.
"I realised at the moment he braked, but by then it is too late because you don't expect someone to brake that early.”
Verstappen was asked in the press conference what he had heard and replied - you could argue rather sarcastically - "I learned the cars are pretty strong, so I'm happy about that. I didn't have any injuries or a lot of problems after that. But what happened will not change me as a racing driver.”
The Toro Rosso seems to have upset some drivers with this comment, however as a rookie, Verstappen needs to establish himself as a driver and not let external sources influence him as a) a driver and b) a personality.
"I will keep fighting, especially when you want to fight for the points, I will still go for it. I will not change my driving style."
If he was to be put in the same situation, Verstappen said he would do the exact same thing again, although he’d have made a couple of tweaks to his plan of attack.
"I was attacking, I wanted to respond, especially after the pitstop we'd had, maybe I would have turned a bit earlier to the right, tried to avoid it a bit more, maybe tried to do it on another lap.”
Romain Grosjean has told the media Verstappen should learn from it, admit he has made a mistake, and the Frenchman did expect an apology. Grosjean is probably the best driver on the grid who is able to empathise with Verstappen. When you consider his comeback to Formula One in 2012, he received a race ban from the 2012 Belgium Grand Prix due to a first lap incident and earned himself the nick name from Mark Webber: “First lap nut case”
"I've made mistakes, quite a lot of them, been treated as a 'first-lap nutcase' - thank you Mark - which hurts a little bit," said Grosjean.
"But I've learned from them, they have made me much stronger, I've been on the podium, so there's no problem of having a crash or doing a mistake in a race.
"The only key is to admit to it, learn from it and apologise to the people you crash into."
Grosjean was asked if Verstappen had apologised and he shook his head saying "It's disappointing we went to the stewards after the grand prix, I tapped him on the back and he could have said 'I'm sorry. But to then say he brake tested me is completely wrong because I braked later than the lap before.”
It seems Grosjean is trying to be supportive towards the Dutch driver, accepting the crash and emphasising Verstappen needs to learn ”As I say, as long as you learn, you are allowed to do mistakes. Max is really, really talented, and what he has been doing is quite impressive, but he has made a mistake. I find it disappointing he hasn't learned from it.”
"The only thing I wish is he learns from it and then I'm sure he is going to have very successful races.”
When Jenson Button was asked about the incident he said "He's obviously inexperienced, it's easy to go and jump on the bandwagon with that,” Button, also tried to send a bit of advice to Verstappen, on his open straight forward comments, especially concerning brake testing.
“I think, the thing is, you've got to be very careful with what you do say in the press. To point the finger at someone and say that they brake tested you, that's serious. I don't think that happens in motorsport these days, we're all grown-ups and we don't do things like that in Formula 1.”
Button was asked his opinion on Verstappen’s remarks "It was a surprise, yes. Obviously emotions run high in this sport, but looking at the talent that we have in the sport, we're all very intelligent guys.
"We know the dangers of this sport and we'd never do anything like that.”
Felipe Massa, another veteran driver was also asked his opinion, "I was asked what I thought, and I thought he should be penalised because what he did was wrong,’
"When you are in your first year, 17 years old, and you do something like that, if you are not penalised it's completely wrong.
"The FIA needs to be strong in a proper way, and that's what they did, but that's what I said, and I don't change my mind. That's what I believe.”
Should Verstappen have been given a race ban or at least a much harsher penalty than a five place grid drop? Should he be penalised for saying he’s not really learned anything and that he would do it again?
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