Max Verstappen has thanked Lewis Hamilton after the reigning world champion backed the driving of the controversial 18-year-old.
With the Dutchman under attack recently for what some see as an overly aggressive racing style, Hamilton said at Monza: “Give the guy a break, he is 18 years old.”
Verstappen, having faced a barrage of criticism, sounded happy to hear Hamilton’s support.
“That’s nice and it shows me just what a racer Lewis is,” he is quoted by Speed Week.
Amid the detractors, Verstappen also has plenty of support, including from the controversial former Renault boss Flavio Briatore.
“He reminds me of a young Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso,” the Italian, who was at Monza, told Sport Bild. “He brings new energy into the sport and formula one urgently needs it.
“To criticise him for a spectacular driving style is stupid,” Briatore insisted.
Briatore, who was at the Monza GP contract extension announcement and also handed out the GP2 trophies, also commented on Ferrari’s current problems.
“To look at Sebastian (Vettel)’s problems shows how good Fernando really was. Because it was him making the difference, not the car.
“Ferrari has 80 per cent of what it takes to win,” Briatore added, “but the missing 20 per cent is a huge task.”