Max Verstappen’s antics during the 2016 season not only led to the FIA putting into place the ‘Verstappen rule’, they also reportedly had Niki Lauda declaring he “needs to see a psychiatrist”.
Verstappen irked his rivals during the 2016 championship with his moving under braking to defend his position in the braking zones.
Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was one of those who complained about the Dutchman’s aggressive actions, with the FIA taking action only for the Ferrari driver to be one of the first penalised under the ‘Verstappen rule’ at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen’s cavalier response to blocking fears
But it was Verstappen’s audacious block on Kimi Raikkonen on the Kemmel Straight at that year’s Belgian Grand Prix that created headlines as he moved across the Ferrari driver’s line at some 200mph.
According to The Times, triple World Champion and F1 legend Lauda noted that and declared: “He needs to see a psychiatrist!”
As for his response to that at the time, Verstappen said: “If I go, we might as well go together.”
The FIA subsequently banned moving under braking, dubbed the ‘Verstappen rules, but the following season then FIA race director Charlie Whiting rescinded it.
The 26-year-old, who has since gone on to win three World titles, revealed today he takes what yesteryear’s heroes say with a pinch, or bucket, of salt.
“You need to have a bit of sense of humour, right?” he told the British publication.
“The older generation of drivers, they’re quite outspoken and straightforward, but I like that because that’s how I am as well. I speak my mind. When somebody says something to me, I’ll say something back to him.”
Kimi Raikkonen was not impressed
But while Verstappen was cavalier in the blocking claims, Raikkonen wasn’t impressed with his rival’s attitude during their battle.
“I’m all up for close battles but when I have to brake after Eau Rouge at full speed when he turns in front of me, that’s not correct in my view,” he said.
He added: “Unfortunately there will be a big accident if this doesn’t stop. That’s the risk.
“I’m fine with fighting but we should not do stupid things.”
Verstappen responded to that: “Yeah, otherwise I should’ve got a penalty if it was not correct. So I think everything was fair today.”