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2018 F1

China a turning point for Verstappen – Haug

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China could have been a turning point for Max Verstappen, according to former Mercedes boss Norbert Haug.

Undoubtedly a young sensation, the Dutchman came under intense scrutiny after the race in Shanghai a fortnight ago following his clash with Sebastian Vettel.

F1 legend Niki Lauda even questioned Verstappen’s “intelligence”.

Former Mercedes chief Haug told Sport Bild: “I would not be surprised if that was not a key experience that will now help him to act with calculated aggression rather than crashing into rivals and wearing his tyres out.”

At Azerbaijan, Verstappen says he will keep flying style but with more self-control following his expensive accident with championship leader Sebastian Vettel in the Chinese GP

“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.

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.”

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