Suggestion that Jos Verstappen-Christian Horner row influenced return of ‘Max 1.0’

Martin Brundle gives his verdict on the collision between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris in Austria.

Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in qualifying parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Austrian
Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in qualifying parc ferme…

Martin Brundle has suggested the spat between Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner and Jos Verstappen may have impacted Max Verstappen's on-track performance at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The latest dispute between Verstappen’s father and Horner emerged over the weekend when Verstappen Sr pulled out of a planned appearance in the Legends Parade, claiming the Red Bull team boss had deliberately tried to block him from taking part.

Verstappen Jr admitted on Saturday that the row was “not nice” and could have been avoided.In Sunday’s grand prix, the three-time world champion saw his hopes of victory wrecked in a late collision with McLaren’s Lando Norris amid a hard-fought battle for the lead.

Verstappen was still able to finish fifth and extend his championship lead, but writing in his latest post-race column for Sky, Brundle questioned the Dutchman’s “driving tactics”.

"Did he know he was there? He confirmed post-race that he did, he's on top of it all well enough. They touched and it finished Norris's race and left Verstappen limping home for three quarters of a lap with a puncture,” Brundle wrote.

"What I found alarming is that after the contact and as they were both limping along, Verstappen clearly tried to impede and collect Norris if he could.“Verstappen would get a 10-second penalty for the turn three contact, but such was his pace thereafter on fresh tyres it mattered not, as he recovered to fifth place, actually increasing his championship lead to the angst of many.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38, both with punctures after colliding.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren…

“In commentary, and in these columns, I've waxed lyrical about Max's talent, and I stand by that, he's one of the very best I've ever witnessed in 40 years.

“I've also said that he's calmed down, matured, and plays more the percentage game with three championships in his pocket. But that appears to have been a thin veneer as this race was very much Max 1.0, with his default driving tactics and denials resurfacing.

“I'm making no excuses for him, but I do wonder if the ridiculous spat between his father Jos and team boss Christian Horner has finally surfaced on track for him.

“And to hear the Red Bull team on the radio after the race telling him it was all Norris's fault was a difficult listen, it damages their credibility all round.”

Brundle also took aim at Norris, arguing the 24-year-old Briton needs to have more “patience and cunning” in order to beat Verstappen in future.

“It was clear Norris would get a five-second penalty for track limits and the whole thing was totally unnecessary for Red Bull,” Brundle added.

“It must also be said that Lando's race craft was rather gung-ho. He'll need more finesse, patience, and cunning than that if he wants to start beating Max regularly to win a championship.”

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