Max Verstappen can’t afford to be a ‘nice guy’

Max Verstappen has attracted criticism for being hot-headed and aggressive towards his team and journalists alike.

Everything looked to be business as usual for Max Verstappen on Sunday, with the Dutchman pulling over a second from P2 within the first lap of the race, and not looking back.

However, when his pit crew experienced issues with 20 laps to go, the 25-year-old was given a mountain to climb, being passed by both Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen was typically sarcastic, venting his frustration on the team radio.

“Beautiful, f*cking beautiful,” he told his team.

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Verstappen has been known for his team radio meltdowns, however former Red Bull F3 and GP2 driver Filipe Albuquerque has defended the Dutchman, claiming that he can not afford to be nice in such a cut-throat and ruthless sport.

The Spaniard has suggested that even despite his dominance, the 25-year-old is replaceable, such is the nature of the sport.

“You could say Max complains too much to a team that gave him so much but, the moment he starts to do mistakes he is easily replaced,” he said.

“It’s not complaining, it’s the F1 pressure. It goes both ways. You can’t be a nice guy.”

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Verstappen had every reason to be frustrated, with an 11-second pit stop seeing an easy win become a difficult one, with the Dutchman having to first overtake this seasons rival Charles Leclerc, before hunting down his old foe Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull and Verstappen showed exactly why they have won both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships this season, with the Dutchman making the task look scarily easy, catching up to Hamilton’s Mercedes and passing at the first attempt, in his vastly superior Red Bull.

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Verstappen apologised to his team after the race, telling reporters that when the team makes a mistake he just has to put his head down and focus, crediting the track layout in Austin as one of the main reasons he was able to make the recovery.

This is not the first time that the two-time world champion has been reminded about his attitude, with the Dutchman not afraid to voice his opinion over the team radio, sometimes aimed at his team and sometimes at other drivers.

Verstappen has endured a relatively stress free season since the tough first couple of races, with himself and Red Bull pulling away from the Ferrari’s in both championships, making for a much different end to the season that we saw last year, with the title fight going right down to the final race in Abu Dhabi.