MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda warned that Dutch teenager Max Verstappen is in danger of wrecking his own career if he continues with the over-aggressive driving, insolence and arrogance that the German great said he displayed in Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.
Speaking after a stormy conclusion to a fiery race won by Lewis Hamilton ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, the three-time world champion blamed the Dutch teenager for a first-lap collision with Rosberg that "could have cost Nico the championship".
Lauda said the 19-year-old Verstappen's driving was "not acceptable".
"Nico was clearly in front," he said. "And Verstappen then rams him off the track. This could have cost Nico the championship. It is not acceptable.
"It's Verstappen's fault. He drives too aggressively. At some point, he has to realise it."
Lauda added that he also believed Verstappen deserved his five-second penalty for going off-track at Turn 1 and gaining an advantage during his battle with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari later in the race.
"That was a just and right decision," he said. "A repeat offender like him has to be penalised.
"Helmut Marko (Red Bull's driver adviser) should talk to him. If he didn'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 realise - he thinks he is doing everything right, but he doesn't. He has to calm down."
Asked about Verstappen's finger-wagging at four-time world champion Vettel during their scrap, Lauda added: "The next insolence - I don't know where this arrogance comes from. I don't understand it.
"This is a lost cause - the fury of the other drivers (with Verstappen) just gets bigger and bigger."