Max Verstappen says he will 'head-butt' the next reporter who questions his approach to racing

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Max Verstappen has come under fire this season for his repeated crashes.

Max Verstappen says he will “head-butt” the next reporter who asks about his crash-strewn start to the Formula One season.

At a press conference ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, the Red Bull driver was asked about a series of incidents he has been involved in this season, the latest coming when he crashed during practice at the Monaco Grand Prix.

It was a line of questioning that exasperated Verstappen.

“I don’t know,” Verstappen said in response to a reporter who asked why he keeps getting into accidents. “But as I said at the start, I am tired of these questions and if I get any more I am going to head-butt someone.”

“I’m really tired of all the comments about me – that I should change my approach.

“I will never do that. It has brought me to where I am right now and after the race is not the right time to talk.”

“I don’t listen to it anyway. I just do my own thing.

“Of course it hasn’t being going that well in the way I like it. A few mistakes, especially Monaco and China, but it doesn’t make sense to keep talking about it.”

Verstappen, who has failed to finish in two of the six races this season with a best result of third in Spain last month, is sixth in the standings some 75 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton and with less than half the number of his Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

However, he’s expecting an upturn in his fortunes.

“I’m confident I can turn things around,” he said. “I’ve always been fast and the pace is there every single weekend.”

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Lewis Hamilton's the Montreal master and other talking points ahead of Canadian GP

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After two races in Europe, Formula One heads across the Atlantic to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo triumphed last time out in Monaco, but it is defending champion Lewis Hamilton who still holds a 14-point title lead over Sebastian Vettel.

Here, we take a look at the key talking points ahead of Sunday’s race in Montreal.

Hamilton’s the Montreal master

If you had told Hamilton that he would lose only three points to Vettel in Monaco, a notorious bogey track for his Mercedes team, the Brit would have nobbled your arm off.

And after salvaging third, only one place behind the Ferrari driver, Hamilton can now head to a circuit where he has become the master in recent years. Following trips to California, to check in on his pet dogs Roscoe and Coco, and then up and over to New York, Hamilton, 33, arrived in Montreal on Tuesday night.

It was here where he won his first grand prix, back in 2007, and it is a venue where he has gone on to triumph a further five times – including a hat-trick for Mercedes (2015, 2016, and 2017). Indeed should Hamilton win on Sunday, he will match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Canadian Grand Prix victories.

Hamilton 1

Vettel needs victory to spark title charge

Vettel’s campaign started in spectacular fashion after he recorded back-to-back wins, but following an accident through no fault of his own with Max Verstappen in China, before falling off the track in Baku, and Mercedes and then Red Bull’s resurgence in Spain and Monaco respectively, Vettel heads to Canada winless from his last four races.

Montreal has been well-suited to Mercedes, but let us not forget Vettel should have won there back in 2016 only for Ferrari’s two-stop strategy to backfire and afford Hamilton the win.

It will not be a disaster for Ferrari if Hamilton triumphs on Sunday, but should Vettel upset the odds and beat his rival, then it will go some way to sending a statement of intent, and one which you fancy he needs, to reignite his championship charge.

Sebastian Vettel 4

Ricciardo facing grid penalty misery

Ricciardo won in Monaco despite nursing an engine problem so terminal that his Red Bull boss Christian Horner likened it to the troubling Apollo 13 space mission. But Ricciardo’s engine failure in the principality will come back to bite him this weekend with the Australian due to serve a hefty grid penalty on Sunday.

Indeed Ricciardo could be thrown to the back of the pack, dependant on the number of engine parts his Red Bull team have to change. It is a blow for Ricciardo’s title chances after he moved up to third, and within 38 points of Hamilton following his Monaco triumph.

But after the dreary spectacle in Monaco a fortnight ago, at least we can rely on one of the finest overtakers in the sport fighting his way back through the field to provide the entertainment this weekend.

Ricciardo

Triple ton up for Alonso

Fernando Alonso will this week become only the fourth driver in Formula One history to reach the landmark of 300 grands prix entries. Rubens Barrichello (326), Jenson Button (309) and Schumacher (308) are the only other men to have surpassed the milestone.

Alonso was set to finish seventh in Monaco before he retired (his first DNF of the season) with a gearbox issue. The 36-year-old Spaniard fears the high-powered Montreal track will work against his McLaren car.

“Canada is going to be challenging,” Alonso said. “It’s a tough circuit with long straights. Our lack of speed is maybe a penalty there.”

Fernando Alonso 1

Lawsuit filed against Raikkonen

A Canadian waitress has filed a reported seven-figure lawsuit against Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen, the 38-year-old Finn, has been accused of touching the woman’s breasts after the Montreal race two years ago.

The woman made the allegations in a blog back in 2016, but did not name Raikkonen. Earlier this year, she gave her version of events to the police.

Raikkonen has denied the allegations and has claimed he is a victim of blackmail. The Finn’s lawyers have filed an extortion counterclaim.

kimi

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Lando Norris linked with Toro Rosso seat as Brendon Hartley faces axe

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British teenager Lando Norris has been approached by Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso to race for them for the remainder of the Formula One season.

Norris is the reserve driver for McLaren this year, but Toro Rosso made a formal move to sign the 18-year-old on loan as a replacement for the under-performing New Zealander Brendon Hartley.

It is reported that Toro Rosso wanted to make Norris Britain’s youngest ever F1 debutant in Austria next month – just seven days before his home race at Silverstone – but McLaren are believed to have rejected their proposal.

Toro Rosso were keen for the temporary deal to be extended into next season, but McLaren’s plans beyond this year remain undetermined and the British team could yet choose to promote Norris to one of their race seats in 2019.

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