‘Verstappen is guaranteed not a dirty driver’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen with his helmet off. Saudi Arabia December 2021.

Max Verstappen has his helmet off during a red flag period. Saudi Arabia December 2021.

Former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck is adamant Max Verstappen is “not a dirty driver”, but concedes he does push the boundaries.

Fighting Lewis Hamilton for a World title that at times must feel like it is slipping from his grasp, Verstappen courted controversy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when he brake tested his title rival.

Ordered to give the lead to Hamilton after gaining an advantage off the track, Verstappen slowed to do just that.

Hamilton though, also slowed as he wasn’t sure what was happening and did not want to go ahead of Verstappen into a DRS zone.

Verstappen hit the brakes hard, and Hamilton rear-ended him.

The Red Bull driver was later handed a 10-second penalty for erratic driving.

Told that there are some pundits, and fans, who believe Verstappen is a dirty driver, 70-year-old Stuck told F1-Insider.com: “This is nonsense! Max is guaranteed not a dirty driver.

“But what can be said is there have been a couple of manoeuvres this year, that was the case in Mexico, for example, but also when the race restarted in Saudi Arabia.

“And that makes him a very special driver, an exceptional driver.

“It may seem dirty, but it isn’t. That was tough and he drove great.

“He pushes the boundaries.”

As for Verstappen’s penalty for the brake test, Stuck doesn’t believe it was the right call.

He is, however, happy that the penalty didn’t have an impact on the race result, with Hamilton taking the win and Verstappen P2.

“We don’t even know what was really going on,” Stuck insisted.

“Yes, Verstappen braked hard, but why didn’t Hamilton drive past long ago, as one normally should?

“The verdict was okay anyway, because it did not intervene in the World Championship fight – and now it is clear that both should use it sensibly.”

The Saudi Arabian GP result means the two go into the season finale in Abu Dhabi tied on points.

The German is hoping that when the chequered flag falls at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday it will be Verstappen who is crowned the 2021 World Champion.

“I will frankly admit that I have both fingers crossed for Max and Red Bull,” he said.

“I just like Max. He doesn’t bend and is a good guy.

“Red Bull has earned the title again, because without Red Bull we would have four fewer cars in the grid. You have to pay tribute to them for achieving such success as a non-manufacturer team.”

He added: “It is clear that this is a tough fight.


“For Hamilton, it’s about making himself immortal in Formula 1, and for Verstappen and Red Bull it’s about the first World title.

“I only wish that Mr. Todt [FIA president Jean] tells the two that they have to drive a decent race in Abu Dhabi. The fact is that two exceptional drivers are fighting for the title here.”


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