Toto Wolff believes Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is an “unbelievable talent” but says the Dutchman still has some flaws he needs to address before he can be Formula One champion.
Verstappen was denied what would have been his fourth career win at the Brazilian Grand Prix after colliding with Force India’s Esteban Ocon as he went to lap the Frenchman. After finishing second, Verstappen sought Ocon out after the race and pushed him three times, something which led to him being told to serve two days “public service” by motor racing’s governing body.
At the start of 2018 Verstappen was heavily criticised during a spell of erratic form and Wolff thinks he still has lessons to learn before he can challenge for top honours in F1.
When asked if Verstappen will be a threat to Mercedes next season, Wolff said: “You can see that there is a future champion coming together. Unbelievable talent and speed.
“And I think once the raw edges are off, he will be somebody who will be a world champion one day.In a few years he will look at the footage [of Brazil] and maybe have his own opinion about whether that was the right behaviour or not. But you can’t accelerate these things, this is a learning process.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner played down Verstappen’s reaction, saying it was a natural by-product of what had happened in the race.
“We don’t condone violence in any way but you have to understand emotions are running very high. There’s a lot of history between those two drivers which goes right back to karting and we don’t know is what words were exchanged between them, how he was antagonised.
“Obviously we don’t condone violence in anyway and you have to also understand emotions, you just have had a backmarker take a grand prix victory away from you, inevitable they’re running high.