In an action-packed Singapore Grand Prix this past Sunday, the crazy start stole all the headline and has been keeping the whole Formula 1 world talking after Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel all collided on the run to Turn 1.
While the FIA investigated and later decided it was a racing incident with no further action taken, much of the blame can be put on Max Verstappen and his main flaw of being unable to make the right decisions in tight racing situations.
When Toro Rosso announced the young Dutchman in their driver lineup for 2015, no-one expected the move pave the way for one of the best talents in the recent history of the sport. Actually, many thought it was just another marketing move as he was too young and who would sign a driver that can’t even drive himself home after a race?
Max silenced those critics quickly proving his worth, even earning a quick switch to Red Bull in Spain last year but from that moment on his lack of experience has clearly shown at different stages.
Sure, Verstappen was able to grab his first win quickly, making him the youngest ever race winner but an undisciplined driving attitude started to annoy other drivers and even led to rules being modified and clarified.
No one can ever deny his talent, nor deny the admiration to his fighting spirit and we will surely see him on top of that podium step on several occasions and why not see him crowned world champion but to get there he will need to change his approach.
Verstappen has a 50% finishing rate in the 2017 season, with some due to mechanical problems and others are not. He has failed to finish the first lap three times this season although admittedly he was the victim the two times prior in Spain and Austria.
The latest at Marina Bay started with the perfect getaway from Kimi Raikkonen as the Finn judged the grip on the wet track better than most and was able to jump from fourth to get his car alongside but ahead of the Red Bull. At the same time polesitter, Sebastian Vettel was protecting his position as he eased his car to the left, which is a normal move seen regularly at the start.
At that moment, all three drivers were side by side until the Red Bull made contact Raikkonen's Ferrari, spinning him into Vettel before Raikkonen and Verstappen collided again with the 2007 world champion having no control over his car.
What makes Verstappen guilty is that Verstappen was the driver in control. Being in the centre, he was in the best position to understand the situation as Vettel was unable to see Raikkonen who was in his blind spot and could not predict he would even be there, having started a few places behind.
Once again, however, Verstappen refused to be patient and wait for the next corners and instead, kept pushing until it was too late and might have consequently cost Vettel and the fans one of the best championship battles in the history of F1.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old should have wisely backed off, having had the weakest start of the three drivers and with the wet conditions he was clearly not in the best position and should have focused on making the corner before launching an attack on both cars afterwards.
What makes it even worse to his case is that it’s not the first time that his determination leads him to a wrong decision with such consequences. Verstappen has been in a series of similar incidents in which he refused to take the battle an extra corner and instead went for a suicidal move that has proven costly for himself and team.
No one wants to see passive drivers nor drivers with no passion and Max never fails to deliver the best show of passion and winning will; however, those feelings continue to go to the extreme because on too many occasions battles end with damage, a Safety Car period or retirement.
It is time for those around him, including father and former F1 driver Jos Verstappen to take Max to one side and calm him down, if not he risks wasting his talent and become nothing more than a faster Pastor Maldonado.
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