The Inside Line: Max Verstappen, F1's talent of the century

Kunal Shah 17/05/2016
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Scroll down to listen to the podcast.

Lewis Hamilton must be furious with Niki Lauda for two reasons – first, Lauda blamed the Brit for the Mercedes collision and secondly, Lauda called Max Verstappen the ‘talent of the century.’ Well, for that compliment, even Sebastian Vettel must be fuming!

Max Verstappen’s maiden race victory on his Red Bull debut gives us plenty to cheer about. We heard the Dutch national anthem on the Formula 1 podium for the first time ever and it seems fans should get used to hearing this anthem more often.

The team give you our view on the ‘Civil War’ that broke out on track between the Mercedes drivers and wonder if the Lauda-Hamilton bromance has come to an end.

Elsewhere, did Red Bull favour a Verstappen win over Daniel Ricciardo? For a brand built on ‘shock marketing’, a Verstappen win was perfect PR for their ‘Gives You Wings’ tagline. Horner has labelled Verstappen as the ‘future’ of Red Bull Racing’, so will they now chase the Formula 1’s ‘Youngest World Champion’ record? And where does this leave Ricciardo?

We find amusement in Alonso’s lack of power (yes, it’s still funny), Kimi racing against both generations of Verstappens and Vettel’s cranky rants.

Tune in!

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Max Verstappen reflects on historic Spanish Grand Prix victory

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Verstappen has won five races in F1 so far.

Verstappen became the sport’s youngest ever race winner at just 18 on his debut with the team.

He was given the bump up to Red Bull after Daniil Kvyat was dropped on the back of two examples of reckless driving.

The Dutch prodigy will now look to Monaco where he will aim to make history once again.










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Five things we learned from the Spanish Grand Prix

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Five things we learned from Barcelona.

Max Verstappen became Formula One’s youngest-ever winner following his brilliant triumph in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, but Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg hogged the headlines after their spectacular crash.

Here are five things we learned from a memorable race.

1. MERCEDES DRIVERS COLLIDE

It had to happen sooner or later, and in a way, it is a surprise it has taken this long. The Spanish Grand Prix marked the 43rd race of this Mercedes-dominated era, but the first in which both Hamilton and Rosberg have taken each other out. Yes, they collided at the Belgian Grand Prix back in 2014, but while Hamilton retired, Rosberg finished second. The Mercedes PR machine went into meltdown that day – Hamilton informed anyone who would listen that Rosberg had deliberately crashed into him – but on Sunday, their response was rather more measured. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, did not wish to apportion blame, and by the time Hamilton and Rosberg faced the media – more than three hours after the incident – the dust had settled. Rosberg was rather more agitated than Hamilton, but while neither accepted blame, there would be no finger-pointing. Lessons learned from Spa, perhaps?

2. NIKI LAUDA BLAMES LEWIS HAMILTON

While Wolff refused to be drawn on which driver he thought was culpable for the accident, Niki Lauda, the team’s non-executive chairman, blamed Hamilton. He called the Briton’s move “too aggressive”, but the view from the paddock was mixed. Sir Jackie Stewart sided with Lauda, but Jacques Villeneuve and Rubens Barrichello pinned the blame on Rosberg. The FIA, the sport’s governing body, however, deemed it to be a racing incident. Rosberg had selected the wrong engine mode which meant Hamilton was 11mph quicker than his team-mate on the exit of turn three. The FIA said: “Having heard extensively from both drivers and from the team, the stewards determined that Car 6 (Rosberg) had the right to make the maneuver that he did and that Car 44’s (Hamilton’s) attempt to overtake was reasonable.”

Niki Lauda with McLaren's Ron Dennis.

Niki Lauda with McLaren’s Ron Dennis.

3. HAMILTON AND ROSBERG WILL CONTINUE TO RACE

We must doff our caps to Mercedes for their refusal to enforce team orders. Indeed in the aftermath of Sunday’s collision, Wolff insisted the team, who have dominated the sport since 2014, “owe it to the fans” to continue to allow Hamilton and Rosberg to race. While Ross Brawn, the Englishman who oversaw Michael Schumacher’s seven titles and Jenson Button’s championship-winning year in 2009, is one of the greatest minds the sport has seen, you have to wonder whether that would still be their mantra if he was in charge?

Toto Wolff (C) with Rosberg and Hamilton.

Toto Wolff (C) with Rosberg and Hamilton.

4. HISTORIC WIN FOR MAX VERSTAPPEN

Max Verstappen may have been hailed as a future world champion before his sensational victory, but none of us could have foreseen such a dramatic rise to the top. It was only the 24th race of his grand prix career, but the level of maturity he displayed with Kimi Raikkonen – who raced against Verstappen’s father Jos – breathing down his neck, is largely unprecedented for one so young. Following his victory, Verstappen’s name was sung at a top-flight football match in his native Holland.

5. ANOTHER PUNCTURE FOR DANIEL RICCIARDO

Daniel Ricciardo looked on course to claim victory before he was placed on a three-stop strategy. Verstappen and Raikkonen stopped only twice. “It didn’t make sense,” the Australian said. “I thought at the time we did it because everyone else was going to do it but it’s frustrating, I think we just threw the win away.” It then got worse for Ricciardo when he sustained a rear-left puncture on the penultimate lap.

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