MONACO (AP) — Teenage driver Max Verstappen is making a name for himself in his first Formula One season for Toro Rosso with aggressive driving and a love of overtaking.
However, the 17-year-old’s performance at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix will be remembered for a late crash as he tried to squeeze past French driver Romain Grosjean.
It led to a safety car coming out when Lewis Hamilton was well in the lead. Hamilton finished third after his team miscalculated by calling him to the pits for a tire change and he came back out behind Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, who won.
Although it looked like a reckless overtaking attempt from Verstappen, he insists Grosjean made a mistake by braking at the wrong moment.
“I braked in the same spot like the lap before but he clearly (broke) 10-15 meters earlier. When it is that close, you have no room,” Verstappen said. “He caught me by surprise. By then it is too late because you don’t expect someone to brake that early.”
Grosjean, who has angered some drivers in the past with risky overtaking moves of his own, clearly blamed Verstappen and said “that was stupid” over his race radio moments after the crash. He finished the race in 12th place, and out of the points.
Verstappen, the son of Dutch F1 driver Jos Verstappen who competed in over 100 GPs, was unharmed as he climbed out of his car.
Moments later, his mangled Toro Rosso was taken off the track by a crane with both of the front wheels dangling down and hanging by a thread.
All eyes will be on Verstappen at the Canadian GP in two weeks’ time, where he will start with a 5-place grid penalty after stewards reviewed the incident and decided he was to blame. They also docked him two points.
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