Max Verstappen compared to Elon Musk after ‘trashing’ Las Vegas spectacle

Oliver Harden
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen looks unimpressed at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen looks unimpressed.

Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard has described Max Verstappen as “the Elon Musk” of F1 following the three-time World Champion’s constant criticism of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Verstappen did not hold back in his criticism of F1’s trip to Nevada, claiming he felt like a “clown” during the opening ceremony and describing the Vegas street circuit itself as “National League” compared to Monaco’s “Champions League.”

The Dutchman went on to claim his 18th victory of the F1 2023 season and seemed to soften his stance when offering his reflections on the race to Coulthard, who conducted the post-race driver interviews against the backdrop of the landmark Bellagio hotel.

David Coulthard likens Max Verstappen to Elon Musk

Asked during Channel 4’s coverage of the race if Red Bull team boss Christian Horner would have asked Verstappen to tone down his criticism of the event, Coulthard likened Verstappen’s interjections to those of X owner Elon Musk’s drive for free speech.

He said: “I’m sure he would have that conversation, but Max is kind of the Elon Musk of the driving force, isn’t he? He believes in freedom of speech.

“Of course [F1 owners and Vegas race promoters Liberty Media] won’t like it. They’re just thinking about bottom-line investment in, they’re cold, hard business people at the end of the day, but one shoe doesn’t fit all and Max fits into that grumpy [section]. That’s who his character is. Be true to yourself.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Revealed: The F1 2023 World Championship standings without Red Bull

F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

Coulthard’s fellow pundit Jamie Chadwick defended Verstappen’s dim view of the Vegas sideshow, insisting the reigning World Champion’s only interest is in the on-track action.

She explained: “He loves to race. He gets in that car, he just wants to win – he doesn’t care much for the rest of it. That’s his focus, he doesn’t worry about whatever else is going on.

“But a lot of people do care about that and I think that’s why a lot of eyeballs [are on] the sport this weekend. More people are watching it than ever, so I think we’ve got to look at the positives as well but we can see why he’s being the way he is.

“That’s Max and everything he does, it’s just him. You’ve got to respect that. He’s a three-time World Champion for a reason and I have a lot of admiration for what he does. He is himself at times.

“I’m sure Red Bull are frustrated by things he says, but we love it.”

Read next: Four things F1 actually got right during chaotic Las Vegas Grand Prix