Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has accused Valtteri Bottas of being a hesitant overtaker and said Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel would have got past him cleanly at the Italian Grand Prix.
Verstappen and Bottas banged wheels in the latter part of the Monza race while fighting for the final spot on the podium. Bottas had moved to the outside of Turn 1 and Verstappen appeared to drift across to defend the position, with the contact forcing the Mercedes driver into a run-off area.
The incident earned Verstappen a five-second penalty, which ultimately relegated him from third — where he finished on the road — to fifth. On the radio he criticised the stewards for “killing racing” but after the race, while speaking to Dutch TV, he took aim at the man he had been fighting on track.
When asked if he would have defended any differently against Hamilton and Vettel, the two men fighting for this year’s championship, he told Dutch media: “No.”
Verstappen went on to say Bottas is not in the same league as those two drivers.
It was then pointed out that Mercedes had been hesitating to pass him in the previous laps, to which he replied: ‘He always does that. I know that.
“Hamilton or Vettel would have passed me sooner. They’re just quicker and better than Bottas. Yes, they are simply better.
‘Bottas never got closer to me, so even without that penalty I could have stayed in P3. I was never never going to let him pass and settle for fourth or fifth — as that’s where we’re supposed to be on current pace.’
Additional reporting by Joe van Burik
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