‘It saddens me that he’s resorting to such tactics, he’s better than that’
Hamilton’s third victory in a row moved him level on points with Verstappen ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend and the race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit featured several controversial incidents between the title protagonists.
Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty for forcing Hamilton wide in an incident in which the 24-year-old refused to back down as the Mercedes driver looked to attack around the outside.
The Dutchman was later told to give the place back but the title rivals collided when Verstappen braked into Hamilton as he unexpectedly slowed down to allow the seven-time world champion past.
In his Sky Sports column, former F1 driver and pundit Martin Brundle compared Verstappen’s uncompromising driving style to former world champions and racing legends in Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, but warned him that he needs to tone down some of his more aggressive moves.
“I’m in awe of Verstappen’s driving skills and racing nous,” Brundle said. “His touch and control behind the wheel is something to behold, but it saddens me that he’s resorting to such tactics, he’s better than that.
“And for all his outwardly carefree attitude it will be such a shame if his legacy is to be labelled as an unfair driver.
“Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher had their faults too, and I was on the receiving end from both of them on occasions, but it’s a sizeable dent on their immense reputations, not a positive.”
Verstappen and Hamilton are level on points but the 24-year-old will win the championship for the first time if neither driver finishes the race, as he has nine wins this season to Hamilton’s eight.
“He’s been playing the game given that, with his points advantage, Hamilton simply can’t afford to have an accident with him and lose an opportunity to reduce the points deficit,” Brundle added.