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Poll: did Max Verstappen cross the line in Belgium?
The teenager was heavily criticised this weekend, but received no penalty
Max Verstappen is just 32 races into his F1 career, but the 18-year-old has rapidly convinced most onlookers that it will simply be a matter of time before he is crowned world champion.
In his first season at Toro Rosso he established himself as one of the most exciting prospects to grace the sport in many, many years, with some breathtaking overtakes and outstanding results thrusting him into the limelight.
His meteoric rise through the junior ranks to the very top tier of motorsport was completed with promotion to Red Bull’s senior team back in May, and victory at the Spanish Grand Prix in an unfamiliar car just days later was nothing short of extraordinary.
However, alongside the triumphs some imperfections – if you can call them that – have emerged.
While his defending to keep Kimi Raikkonen at bay en route to the chequered flag in Barcelona was utterly flawless, his efforts at the Hungarian Grand Prix were not.
A disputed double move – illegal in the F1 rulebook – left the Finn with front wing damage on that occasion, and many drivers voiced their concerns about Verstappen’s behaviour after the race.
Raikkonen was a victim once again this weekend at Spa as the teenager dived into the inside of Turn 1 to try and make up for a poor start, although the Red Bull driver wasn’t entirely to blame as Sebastian Vettel squeezed into the other side of his teammate.
The thing that drew the most criticism was his performance after the incident, as both Ferraris fell foul to his aggression along the Kemmel Straight. In Verstappen’s own words: “If Turn 1 hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have been so aggressive.” That kind of attitude is ringing alarm bells for many inside the sport.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called Verstappen “refreshing but dangerous”, and Kimi Raikkonen is convinced the Dutchman will soon cause a “massive accident”. 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve went much further, saying Verstappen’s actions could “kill someone”.
But not everyone saw it that way. Christian Horner acknowledged that his driver had “pushed the limit”, but pointed out that the stewards had yet again found no reason to punish the youngster.
As far as they are concerned, Verstappen operated entirely within the rules and they consider his style of racing to be fair.
What do you reckon? Let us know by voting in the poll below…