HOT HEAD? Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has been criticised for his over-zealous driving style at the Mexican Grand Prix. Image: AFP / Giuseppe Cacace
Mexico City - Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda warned that Dutch teenager Max Verstappen is in danger of wrecking his own career if he continues with the over-aggressive driving, insolence and arrogance that he said he displayed in Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.
Speaking after a stormy conclusion to a fiery race won by Lewis Hamilton ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, the three-time world champion blamed him for a first lap collision with Rosberg that "could have cost Nico the championship."
Lauda said the 19-year-old Verstappen's driving was "not acceptable".
Lauda said: "Nico was clearly in front, and Verstappen then rams him off the track. This could have cost Nico the championship. It is not acceptable.
"It's Verstappen's fault. He drives too aggressively. At some point, he has to realise it."
Lauda added that he also believed Verstappen deserved his five seconds penalty for going off-track at Turn One and gaining an advantage during his battle with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari later in the race.
Watch: Verstappen and Vettel voice their frustration
"That was a just and right decision," he said. "A repeat offender like him has to be penalised.
"Helmut Marko (Red Bull's driver adviser) should talk to him. If he didn't drive that aggressively, he would develop much better.
"His talent is unbelievable, but then he smashes it all with these stupid actions.
"He doesn't realise, he thinks he is doing everything right, but he doesn't. He has to calm down."
Asked about his finger-wagging at Vettel during their scrap, Lauda added: "The next insolence -- I don't know where this arrogance comes from. I don't understand it.
"This is a lost cause -- the fury of the other drivers just gets bigger and bigger."
Vettel said he was very angry during the battle in which he gave vent to a furious tirade of swearing and bad language.
The German said: "I had reason to be angry, all in all, I think it was a very good race. We had a good pace and made it work and we came back at the end to fight for the podium."
He said he had been to see Race Director Charlie Whiting after directing foul language at him during his radio rant.
Watch: Verstappen pushing the limits - Vettel
"I went to see him immediately so I don't understand why you (the media) are making a fuss.
"For sure, it is not the right thing to say, but equally emotions were running high."
Mexico Grand Prix - As it happened
Asked how Whiting responded, Vettel said: "It's none of your business.
"I was fighting very hard and supposed to give him just enough which I think he had.
"(Red Bull driver) Daniel Ricciardo is sometimes optimistic in going for a gap. I knew he would go for it whatever the costs. I tried to defend and in the end we made contact and that's not ideal."
Despite suggestions that Hamilton had gained an advantage by going off at Turn One at the start, articulated in particular by Verstappen, Rosberg said his team-mate had nothing wrong.
He said: "Lewis did a better job (than me) this weekend. At the first corner, he went in first and came out first and that is ok."