Max responds to criticism from rivals: 'I am in their heads'
After contact with rivals in Mexico, Red Bull’s Verstappen received criticism from Hamilton and Vettel, where the former called out the Dutchman on his driving tactics as he stated that he fears of being ‘torpedoed’ when racing the 22-year-old.
Four days since the comments, Verstappen hit back at Hamilton and Vettel, labeling their comments as ‘silly’, while adding that it just means that he was in their heads now.
“It was a bit of a silly comment to make,” said Verstappen. “I think I’m always a hard racer but fair. I think it’s just not correct – but of course it’s easy to have a dig at someone. From my side, it’s fine. It’s always positive when they talk about you."
“That means you’re in their head. So, for my side, I just focus on my driving and I think that’s enough said.” Verstappen also went on to call the comments ‘disrespectful’ to a certain extent and held his ground about pushing in races.
“I think from my side it only shows that I’m in their heads and I guess that’s a good thing but from my side I don’t need to dig in to other people in the press conferences because first of all I think it’s a bit disrespectful as well and I prefer to fight on track which I love to do and of course I like to fight hard but on the edge,” said Verstappen.
“Otherwise, if they want me to stay behind, it’s also better to stay at home. I really want to take the fight to them because that’s what we are here for. We are racers, we in F1, I think we are the best out there and we do fight for victories because that’s what I live for.”
Verstappen also took the opportunity to clear about his comments made in the press conference post the Mexico GP qualifying. “I think it was very fair from the FIA,” he said. “We had a good talk in the stewards [in Mexico].
“I said ‘I didn’t see the yellow flag’ but of course there’s a rule that when there is a yellow flag displayed that you have to slow down so from my side, there are also no hard feelings about that. It’s just very unfortunate I didn’t see that yellow flag.
“In hindsight I also didn’t need to go for that lap time because I was already on pole position but what was going through my head throughout that lap was you don’t know what the other guys in front of you are doing, if they are improving, are they beating your pole lap time?
“I didn’t see the yellow flag, I improved my lap time, in hindsight I didn’t need to do it but also in hindsight I think next time I’m anyway going to lift even if they would improve my lap time, just because they got lucky, they were in front of the accident. It is what it is.
“At the moment we are still not in a position to fight for pole position all the time so of course I was enjoying the moment as well. But still, it was a great result for us, it showed that after the few difficult races we’ve had in terms of performance the car was working really well so that was a big boost even though we didn’t start from pole position.”
[Note: This article was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net and edited by Darshan Chokhani]