Max Verstappen believes Sebastian Vettel is not coming under the same amount of scrutiny for his driving as the Red Bull driver did earlier this season.
A collision with Vettel in China was followed by another with teammate Daniel Ricciardo in Azerbaijan, before Verstappen crashed in FP3 in Monaco and missed qualifying. The China and Monaco errors cost him a big chance of victory — with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggesting the Dutchman should change his approach — but Verstappen believes Vettel has faced an easier time in recent weeks.
“You see even a four-time world champion can make mistakes like that,” Verstappen told ESPN. “People saying I had to change my driving style, to me that was all big bulls**t, to be honest.
“They don’t tell Sebastian to really change his driving style, I’ve never seen the headlines like that. At the end of the day, driving on the limit, sometimes over it to achieve the best out of it, especially at such high speeds… mistakes are easily done.
“Maybe the people who watch it know better. Sometimes I watch a football match and I think I know better, but at the end of the day, we don’t. So I think people need to appreciate more what we are trying to achieve in the car.”
And Verstappen suggests his driving would be different if he had a more competitive car, aiming another thinly veiled dig at departing power unit supplier Renault for having an influence in how he approaches racing this season.
“I think if I had a championship-winning car this year those mistakes wouldn’t have been there, because you don’t always have to drive at 102, 103 percent.
“It’s kind of over-driving, you want to get the best out of it, and sometimes it didn’t work out. But then also, when you have so much horsepower on the straight, you think, ‘Well maybe I’ll wait one more corner because I’ll take him on the straight.’
“What we have to do is really do-or-die dive into a corner to get past. In terms of defending as well, that has to be done quite aggressively. So you became a completely different driver when you have a championship-winning car.”