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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Hakkinen backs young 'Mad Max' overtake

2015-05-27 12:13

F1'S 'MAD MAX': Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen says age is not to blame after Max Verstappen crashed during the 2015 Monaco GP.Image: AP / Rob Griffith


Max Verstappen, 17-year-old wunderkind of Formula 1, slashed into the catch pads during the 2015 Monaco F1 GP on Sunday. Was it really his fault? Watch...

HELSINKI, Finland - Mika Hakkinen has leapt to 17-year-old Max Verstappen's defence after his high-speed collision and subsequent crash during the 2015 Monaco Formula 1 GP.

Critics have blasted teenager Verstappen's youth and inexperience since the Ste Devote curve impact, (we have a video!)  and the International Motorsport Federation has issued a five-place grid demotion for him at the start of the Canadian GP on June 5.

It also added two penalty points to his F1 superlicence.

VIDEO: Watch the crash and decide.

Verstappen, however, claimed on Wednesday (May 27 2015) that he only crashed because he was dangerously "brake-tested" by Lotus driver Romain Grosjean - the car with which Verstappen connected, ripping of his left front wheel and consequently slamming nose-first into a cushioned track barrier.


Hakkinen, a double F1 champion, told the Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat: "Grosjean was on a different line, as in previous laps. He also drove at a different speed. If the Lotus had not changed its speed and trajectory it was likely that the overtake would have been completed.

"In my opinion these penalties were incorrect."

With a similar view was another former F1 driver, Dutchman Jan Lammers, who told De Telegraaf in Amsterdam he did not understand the federation's penalties.


Lammers said: "Anybody with any interest in F1 should thank God for the arrival of Max. Thanks to him people are watching races again on the edge of their seat - then this penalty... it makes me wonder what people want.

"It is not good reasoning to say it's because he is 17 and they want to give him a signal. I think going into that barrier was a clear enough signal."

Hakkinen said meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo deserved a penalty for colliding with Kimi Raikkonen in the same race: "Daniel (Ricciardo) has demonstrated many times that as soon as someone leaves a gap, he rushes into it without thinking if it is an excessive risk or not."

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