MONTREAL (Reuters) - Red Bulls Max Verstappen is not beating himself up over a run of costly errors but is tired of everyone throwing jabs, warning on Thursday that the next person to ask him about crashing risked bodily harm.
The dour Dutchman could barely force even a small smile and had few words during a prickly news conference before this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix where he defended his performance this season as tenaciously as he defends his racing line on the track.
“Like I said in the beginning of this press conference I get really tired of all the questions,” Verstappen said. “I think if I get a few more I will head butt someone.”
The threat did not stop the annoying line of questioning but Verstappen remained cool and in his seat although his icy stare and curt answers said more than his words.
Formula One’s youngest race winner has come under criticism from all corners during an incident filled campaign that has seen the 20-year-old reach the podium once in six races while his team mate Daniel Ricciardo has recorded a pair of wins.
That criticism spiked at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix when a crash in qualifying left Verstappen at the back of the grid, while Ricciardo started from pole and went on to win Formula One’s glamour race.
After the race, team principal Christian Horner warned his young driver that he needed to stop making mistakes while everyone from his father Jos to fellow drivers and pundits have piled on with their opinions and advice.
While acknowledging he could have done better, Verstappen has viewed the storyline as a tempest in a tea pot with everyone being far too dramatic.
“It is not as dramatic as people say it is,” said Verstappen. “Of course, I haven’t scored the points which I should have scored but that was not only my fault.
“Could have been better but everyone makes it so dramatic.”
The high-water mark for Verstappen this season was a third in Spain but he retired in Azerbaijan after a collision with Ricciardo.
In China, he tangled with Mercedes’s reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s title contender Sebastian Vettel, finishing fifth after a 10-second penalty demoted him from fourth.
Before that, he collided with Hamilton in Bahrain and retired while he had a 360-degree spin in Australia and finished sixth.
Despite a trouble pattern Verstappen remained unapologetic and unrepentant.
“I get really tired of all the comments of me, that I should change my approach,” said Verstappen. “I will never do that, because it’s brought me to where I am right now.
“I just do my own thing.
“It just feels like there are no better questions out there than to keep asking me about what happened in the previous weekend. So yeah, I’m just focusing on what’s ahead.”
Editing by Edmund Blair