Toto Wolff says Max Verstappen should not be so aggressive against Nico Rosberg with the drivers’ championship at stake for the Mercedes driver.
Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel with Rosberg at Turn 1 at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, with contact between the two seeing Rosberg cut Turn 2 and stay ahead. Defending Lewis Hamilton’s start – in which he completely missed Turn 2 after outbraking himself – Wolff believes Verstappen’s penalty for a similar error late in the race was an accumulation after his move on Rosberg.
“I think the big difference [for Hamilton] it was a lap 1 incident and on the other side you could also say that Max could have got a penalty for banging wheels with the championship leader into Turn 1 and pushing him off the track,” Wolff said.
“I think maybe the penalty he got at the end was a consequence of all the driving and as refreshing as it is, and how ruthless the great ones are – and this is just my opinion and I won’t comment on the other one – if you race the championship leader three races down to the end wheel banging is not what should happen.”
Verstappen later caught and attempted to pass Rosberg at Turn 4, failing to make the move stick. However, Wolff picked up on a radio message from Red Bull which he believes was designed to prevent another incident between the two.
“I think it is very refreshing how he drives and his driving is ruthless. I like that. I think that the team gave him a radio call and I am not sure, if I read it right, but when he was catching up, they said, ‘Keep it clean with Nico’. This is exactly what I would have said to him.
“You don’t bang wheels with the championship leader three races from the end. The team have given him that guidance, but maybe in the car and when the visor is down, it is difficult.”
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