Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen has clarified his recent comments following the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Dutchman believes he was “misunderstood” over his remarks concerning drivers’ participation after a serious crash during a race. While Verstappen’s remarks were meant in good humor, some fans didn’t see the funny side of things.
At the post-race press conference for the Bahrain GP, which saw Grosjean escape relatively unhurt after a hair-raising accident, the top three were asked to reflect on the psychological impact of the red flag period, and the horrifying crash.
Verstappen joked about ‘kicking out’ any driver who would refuse to resume racing after witnessing a crash, had he been team boss. The Dutchman’s humor left Hamilton feeling grateful that the Red Bull ace wasn’t the seven-time world champion’s boss.
For those unaware, Haas’ Romain Grosjean managed a lucky escape in a big crash at the start of last week’s race. The Frenchman’s accident triggered a red flag, that left several drivers shook, given the theatrics of the crash.
In the buildup to the Sakhir Grand Prix, Max explained his comments made after the race.
“I think people misunderstood what I meant,” Verstappen said.
“What I was trying to say is that as drivers we know the risks when we get in the car and if anyone has doubts they should consider stopping racing.
He continued, “There is nothing wrong with that if you feel uncomfortable to race but we are part of a team and they rely on us to do our job which is drive the car. Had Romain not walked away obviously things would have been very different on Sunday.”
Verstappen went on to reference crashes from the 70s and 80s, which saw many fatal accidents due to questionable or non-existent safety standards.
With the air cleared, Verstappen can focus on ending the season on a high. Considering that the newly crowned World Champion Hamilton will miss the Sakhir race due to coronavirus, the Red Bull star can capitalize on a weakened Mercedes F1 team.
Given current COVID protocols, Hamilton is also likely to miss next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, giving Verstappen the best chance to end Mercedes’ streak at Yas Marina.
More importantly, Verstappen can still beat Bottas to second in the Drivers’ Championship. As things stand, it’s Red Bull’s race to lose in the sand dunes of Bahrain.