Verstappen will win titles once he curbs "raw edges" - Wolff

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes that Max Verstappen will be a world champion once the “raw edges are off.”

Verstappen will win titles once he curbs "raw edges" - Wolff

Wolff said that the Dutchman’s clashes with Esteban Ocon on and off the track in Interlagos indicated that he still has some learning to do.

The Mercedes chief has long been a fan of Verstappen, having tried to sign him before he made a commitment to Red Bull.

“You can see that there is a future champion coming together,” said Wolff when asked how big a threat Verstappen will be next season. “Unbelievable talent and speed.

"And I think once the raw edges are off, he will be somebody who will be a world champion one day.

“In a few years he will look at the footage of today and maybe have his own opinion about whether that was the right behaviour or not.

"But you can't accelerate these things, this is a learning process.”

Wolff defended the actions of Mercedes protege Ocon, who was penalised for the clash with Verstappen.

"Emotions are running high, and I think that the incident was unfortunate. He was on a new tyre, much faster, tried to unlap himself, which is fair enough.

“Then they crashed and because Max was in the lead that was an incident that I'm sure Esteban would have wanted to avoid, rather than being out there in the press with all the criticism.”

Like Wolff, Mercedes' world drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton - who inherited the race lead after the incident in question and went on to win the race - defended Ocon’s actions in trying to pass Verstappen.

“I'm pretty sure there's no rule that says you can't unlap yourself,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “I've done it before. Ultimately when you're in Ocon's position you've got nothing to lose.

“You want to get through, you've got much quicker tyres, and you're trapped. If you've got much quicker tyres and the guy on front is not pushing flat out, which Max wasn't, he was saving his tyres, so he's cruising and holding him up, you're going to go for it and try and get by and move yourself forwards.”

“From my seat it didn't feel like it was 100% one side, more like maybe 60/40, who knows."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, passes a spinning Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer, after the latter suffers a collision with Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11 Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, passes a spinning Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer, after the latter suffers a collision with Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11 Mercedes.

Photo by: Andy Hone / LAT Images

shares
comments
Fittipaldi signing addresses Haas sim weakness - Grosjean

Previous article

Fittipaldi signing addresses Haas sim weakness - Grosjean

Next article

F1 teams wary of overtaking impact of 2019 changes

F1 teams wary of overtaking impact of 2019 changes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Max Verstappen , Esteban Ocon
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021