May 25 (GMM) The F1 press corps was quick to name the teenaged Dutchman ‘Mad Max’ Verstappen after his huge crash on Sunday.
Initially, the Toro Rosso driver blamed Romain Grosjean for ‘brake-testing’ him on the run to Ste Devote, which sent Verstappen into the barrier at a terrifying speed.
“Clearly you could see Grosjean in front of me braked 10 to 15 metres earlier than the lap before,” he said.
Verstappen was unhurt.
“I’m alright but for sure tomorrow I will be sore,” he said.
Some called him ‘Mad Max’, while Kevin Eason of the Times said that following all the stories of the 17-year-old’s astonishing maturity, Verstappen had “suddenly turned schoolboy”.
Frenchman Grosjean agreed, as his immediate reaction on the radio was not fit for broadcast.
So too did the race stewards, who issued Verstappen with a five-place penalty for the Montreal grid.
They also added 2 points to his super licence, meaning that if he accrues a further 10, he faces a race ban.
Grosjean said Verstappen’s age and inexperience “possibly” contributed to the crash.
“Overtaking is so difficult in Monaco,” the Lotus driver was quoted by De Telegraaf, “and I think he has gained much needed experience today.
“I am especially glad that he is ok. It was a dangerous situation for both of us,” added Grosjean.
Williams’ Felipe Massa agreed that the youngster was lucky to escape injury.
“He’s 17, so if he was hurt everybody would talk ‘Why did they give a licence to a guy who is 17?’ said the 34-year-old Brazilian.
But Verstappen still has his supporters. Marc Surer, a former driver and now veteran broadcaster on German television, backed the 17-year-old after the crash.
“Mistakes happen,” he said, “and they also happen to very experienced guys like Jenson Button in China.
“Fortunately, the safety measures we see in Monaco today are so much better than in the past, as it could have been a really horrible incident,” added Surer.