Mercedes’ F1 chairman Niki Lauda has lambasted Max Verstappen for his first-corner collision with World Championship leader Nico Rosberg, and also attacked him for his aggressive driving later in the race.
Verstappen banged wheels with Rosberg at Turn 1, forcing the championship leader to take evasive action across the grass at Turn 2.
Lauda said this was “not acceptable”, with Rosberg racing for his first world title.
“Nico clearly was in front and Verstappen rams him off the track,” said Lauda. “This could have cost Nico the championship. This is not acceptable.
“It's Verstappen's fault. He drives too aggressively. At some point he has to realise it.”
"This is a lost cause"
When quizzed about the penalty Verstappen received, for straightlining the first corner after outbraking himself while battling with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Lauda believed the teenaged Dutchman was at fault again.
“It was a just and right decision,” he added. “A repeated offender like him has to be penalized. Helmut [Marko, Red Bull’s driver advisor] should talk to him.
“If Verstappen wouldn't drive that aggressively, he would develop much better. His talent is unbelievable but then he smashes it all with these stupid actions.
“He doesn't realize. He thinks he is doing everything right but he doesn't. He has to calm down.”
When asked about Verstappen’s hand-waving gesture towards Vettel – who was also wagging his finger at him, Lauda replied: “The next insolence. I don't know where this arrogance comes from. I don't understand.
“This is a lost cause. The fury of the other drivers just gets bigger and bigger.”
Additional reporting by Stefan Ehlen