APRIL 16, 2018
Lauda questions Verstappen intelligence
F1 legend Niki Lauda has questioned Max Verstappen's "intelligence" after the Chinese grand prix.
The Dutchman's headline faux pas in Shanghai was a clash with world championship leader Sebastian Vettel, for which he apologised privately.
"That was s**t," Verstappen told Bild newspaper. "It was my fault but I cannot undo it now."
The 20-year-old is often defiant in the wake of clashes, but this time around he was criticised not only by Vettel and Lauda, but also his own bosses Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko.
"He needs to control himself a bit more," Marko told Movistar.
"I have told him that his time is coming but that he cannot overdo it. He knows that he has lost a victory and we lost a 1-2."
German Vettel said he is at least happy with how Verstappen dealt with the aftermath of the crash.
"I thought it was good that he came to me rather than doing it through the media. He misjudged the situation, made a mistake, and that can happen even if you have 300 races under your belt," said the Ferrari driver.
"But I don't think it's a matter of age. He already has a few races under his belt now. In such situations, he just has to be a little more patient," Vettel added.
F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Lauda was much more critical of Verstappen, as his mistakes continue to mount.
"Normally, you learn from your mistakes, but it doesn't work with him. At some point, it's no longer a question of age, but a matter of intelligence," he said.
However, F1 race director Charlie Whiting said the FIA is not going to intervene.
"I think the stewards did their job and nothing else is necessary," he said. "I believe he made a mistake and got his punishment."