Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
Sports | 2,198 views

Max Verstappen accused of breaking golden rule and branded ‘immature’ | F1 | Sport

Red Bull star Max Verstappen has dredged up some old memories after being accused of “immature” driving in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix. That’s according to former Formula 1 mechanic Marc Priestley, who has said the Dutchman could have easily been handed more severe punishment in one of his most favoured races.

Verstappen, 26, was handed a 10-second penalty by stewards and placed fifth in Spielberg after he was adjudged to be the main cause in a late collision between him and Lando Norris. McLaren driver Norris had to retire following the turn three clash on lap 64, while Verstappen donned a new set of tyres before crossing the line.

While he saw justice in the 10-second penalty, ex-McLaren mechanic Priestley said he also wouldn’t have thought it unfair if Verstappen was handed a more severe punishment. Not to mention Red Bull‘s ace potentially breaking more rules, including one that was brought in because of his past actions.

“We saw a disastrous pit stop, which brought Lando Norris back into play,” said Priestley on his YouTube channel. “We saw questionable strategy decisions, although that might be a little harsh, and we definitely saw some questionable driving from Max Verstappen when he was put under pressure.

“It was almost like we were seeing Verstappen from years gone by when he came [into] the sport, when he faced criticism for the aggressive nature of his driving, the questionable moves, the moving under braking.

“They even introduced a rule about not moving under braking [because] of Verstappen, and yet it was Verstappen himself who seemed to breach that rule, although the stewards didn’t seem to agree necessarily, which I find very strange.”

The ‘Verstappen rule’ was adopted in 2016 to counteract drivers running into the back of braking opponents, though it was soon replaced by a more conclusive restriction on dangerous and erratic driving. Verstappen insisted after Sunday’s race that he felt none of his manoeuvres constituted moving under braking.

Priestley went on to argue Verstappen attempted to “push” Norris off the track after suffering his puncture when it appeared evident the latter held an advantage. It’s his suggestion the championship leader was fortunate not to cop further punishment for those actions, which perhaps reminded fans of the younger Verstappen.

“Lando at that stage had a bit more grip as his tyre hadn’t let go and yet Max was still desperate to not let him pass,” he added. “Almost it would seem angry it would appear at least, angry after the incident.

“That I think is equally if not more dangerous because that seemed petulant, it seemed like it was in retaliation. Now look, I’m judging this from the outside, but it seemed like the petulance we’ve seen in the past, like an immature Max, which is not something we’ve become used to in recent times.”

Priestley clarified the “huge respect” he holds for Verstappen before noting his usual honour appeared to disappear in Austria on Sunday. George Russell‘s win and a fifth-place finish for Red Bull‘s leading man meant the latter still extended his lead to 81 points, while Norris is left to lick his wounds after falling further off the pace.

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