BAKU (Reuters) - Max Verstappen says he will drive faster but with more self-control after his costly collision with Ferrari’s Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel in China.
The 20-year-old Red Bull driver blew a potential victory with a rash attempt to pass the four-times world champion in Shanghai two weeks ago while having the advantage of fresher tyres.
The Dutchman also botched a move on Mercedes’ reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and ended up finishing fifth after a 10 second penalty.
“Nobody is perfect,” Verstappen told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a race won last year by Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo — who also triumphed in China.
“I am very happy to listen and also improve like everyone else. These situations just make you a better driver at the end of the day.
“You learn from yourself and that doesn’t mean you have to drive slower, it actually means you have to drive faster. But maybe with a little bit in control,” he added.
Verstappen is seen as a future world champion, a triple race winner on a long-term contract with Red Bull, but he has also been advised to calm down by current and former drivers including father Jos.
Verstappen senior said after Shanghai that he did not want his son to change his style, just have it under control and think more.
His son, who sought out Vettel after the race in China to apologise, said he had also discussed matters with Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko and taken the advice on board.
The fundamental approach remained the same, however.
“To just slow yourself down, just to not do anything and drive around, I’m not like that, I’m not here to fill up the field,” said Verstappen, who scored more points than any driver other than Hamilton in the last six races of 2017.
“In general, the whole season pace-wise I have been good but the results have not been there yet but there have been only three races so far and 18 to go.”
Verstappen has scored just 18 points from three races so far this year, leaving him eighth overall, in a disappointing return from a driver whose team have shown they have a winning car.
He crashed in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying, then clashed with Hamilton in the race and retired, and spun during the opening race in Australia while trying to pass Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly