Formula 1 sporting boss Ross Brawn believes Max Verstappen needs to eradicate “pointless mistakes” and “control his emotions” if he is to fight for world championships in the near-future.

The Red Bull driver recovered from a crash-strewn start to the 2018 season to end the year with more points than any driver except reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, taking victories in Austria and Mexico on his way to a career-best fourth-place finish in the championship.

Multiple world champions Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have already tipped Verstappen for a title challenge in 2019, providing Red Bull finds instant success as it enters a new engine partnership with Honda.

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But Brawn feels Verstappen still has work to do before he will be world champion material and warned the Dutchman must avoid situations such as his physical confrontation with Esteban Ocon in Brazil that led to him being handed a public service punishment from the FIA.

“Next season will mark the start of a new cycle, with Max Verstappen playing a key role in that development,” Brawn said.

“The Dutchman had a great season, particularly in the second half, when only Hamilton scored more points.

“At just over 21 years of age, Max already seems like a veteran, displaying an incredible talent that is bound to seem him be a major player over the coming decade.

“He still has some growing to do, in order to avoid pointless mistakes and to control his emotions, as we saw in Interlagos because so far, he hasn’t found himself fighting for the title and in that situation the head counts just as much as the right foot.”

Brawn added he is “quietly excited” to see how Red Bull’s new partnership consisting of Verstappen and Pierre Gasly plays out, describing the Frenchman’s promotion from Toro Rosso as “another gamble” from Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

 

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