I'll drive the same way: Max

Red Bull's Max Verstappen during practice at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. The Dutchman finished fourth last year with Toro Rosso in his only other appearance at the Circuit of The Americas.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen during practice at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. The Dutchman finished fourth last year with Toro Rosso in his only other appearance at the Circuit of The Americas.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Dutch teen remains unfazed after FIA rules against sudden moves when braking

AUSTIN (Texas) • Max Verstappen will not change his style despite Formula One's governing body outlawing a defensive manoeuvre that the Red Bull youngster has used to keep his rivals behind him.

International Automobile Federation (FIA) race director Charlie Whiting issued a clarification at the United States Grand Prix on Saturday to address moves that some of the drivers have questioned.

It reminded them that cars must not be driven "in a manner which could be potentially dangerous to other drivers" and barred "any abnormal change of direction".

"With this in mind... any change of direction under braking which results in another driver having to take evasive action will be considered abnormal and hence potentially dangerous to other drivers," the document added. "Any such move will be reported to the stewards."

Verstappen, the sport's new young star and a race winner in Spain in May, has drawn criticism for abrupt moves while braking into a corner as speeding rivals tried to pass him.

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton cut a chicane and went down an escape road at Suzuka when that happened, while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen has had to take evasive action more than once.

"In the 10 years that I have been in Formula One, there's been the same rule that all us drivers understand and it is only newcomers who have come in and potentially not abided by that," Hamilton said.

"It is about the respect that we have for one another, we're travelling at serious speeds. You commit to your defence but you don't do it (move again) while in braking.

"I think it's great that Charlie has understood the majority of drivers' opinions. The rules have to be very strict and clear because if they say you are allowed to move under braking, everyone would do it and we will all start a new way of driving which is dangerous."

Verstappen agreed the rules had to be obeyed but played down the impact on him.

"I don't think so," said the Dutchman, 19, when asked whether he would have to change his style. "I think it's good to make it more clear what's allowed and what's not.

"So far it said in the rules that you could go to the inside under braking. Now it's not. So we'll see how that's going to affect the racing."

Hamilton grabbed his first pole in five attempts at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday and admitted later that he was unaware his Mercedes team had worked through the night to deliver a car which carried him through.

The 31-year-old defending champion grabbed the 58th pole of his career, edging out team-mate Nico Rosberg, using a car with a new fuel injection system which was fitted overnight.

The Briton said he had no idea about the repairs carried out by mechanics who worked until 4am to keep his title push on track.

"I just didn't know anything about that," said Hamilton, who was 33 points behind Rosberg before this morning's (Singapore time) race. "I have been focused on my job and working on my preparations."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'I'll drive the same way: Max'. Print Edition | Subscribe