Verstappen is way too aggressive: Raikkonen

Red Bull's Max Verstappen (left) has been criticised by Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel after their three-car collision at Spa.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen (above) has been criticised by Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel after their three-car collision at Spa.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS • Max Verstappen's aggressive racing style is dangerous and could have caused a major accident during the Belgian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen said after Sunday's race.

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion who finished ninth for Ferrari, clashed with Verstappen frequently during the 44-lap contest. The 18-year-old Dutchman had seemed inspired by the atmosphere created by his "orange" army of supporters.

The Finn had criticised Verstappen - who finished 11th - for his abrasive defensive driving at last month's Hungarian race and their strained relations were stretched again when the pair collided at the first corner in Belgium.

Verstappen, who started alongside pole-sitter Nico Rosberg, had been overtaken by Ferrari's Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel off the line and attempted to make up the places on a tight first corner, only for the three cars to collide.

The German was on the outside and collided with his team-mate before the Finn and Verstappen's Red Bull made contact.

All three were forced to pit with damage to their cars, Raikkonen nearly losing a lap as mechanics rushed to extinguish flames beneath his Ferrari.

Raikkonen and Verstappen clashed twice more later in the race, including another collision, and the Finn was more upset about the Red Bull driver changing direction at high speed as he chased him down the flat-out Kemmel straight.

"If I had not braked, we would have had a massive accident," said Raikkonen, who criticised Verstappen over the radio during the race. "I'm sure it will happen sooner or later if this doesn't change. I am fine with good, hard racing but that is not correct."

Verstappen escaped any penalty from the stewards. He later said his race tactics had been fair.

"To be honest, I think that's a big lie (Raikkonen's claims). I'm not going to say, 'Come on through.' But all that happened after Turn 1. If Turn 1 hadn't happened, I wouldn't have been so aggressive and pushed Raikkonen out like that."

Vettel finished sixth. He and Raikkonen had started third and fourth on the grid respectively.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Verstappen is way too aggressive: Raikkonen'. Print Edition | Subscribe