Mercedes bosses blast Verstappen for Rosberg clash

Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:59pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mercedes bosses criticized Red Bull's Max Verstappen on Sunday after the Dutch teenager banged wheels with Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix before later aggressive attempts to overtake.

"Nico clearly was in front and Verstappen rams him off the track," non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said of the first corner incident.

"This could have cost Nico the championship. This is not acceptable.

"His talent is unbelievable but then he smashes it all with these stupid actions."

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said Verstappen's driving was exciting but agreed that the 19-year-old should have shown more respect for a title contender who ultimately finished second and is now 19 points clear with two races remaining.

"I think it’s very refreshing how he drives. His driving is ruthless, I like that," the Austrian told reporters.

"I think that the team gave him a radio call...when he was catching up that said ‘keep it clean with Nico’ and this is exactly what I would have said to him. You don’t bang wheels with the championship leader three races from the end (of the season).

"The team have given him the guidance but maybe in the car when the visor is down it’s different."   Continued...

Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands takes part in a publicity event by Hisense ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero - RTX2QS88