Formula One is braced for the next episode of the Max Verstappen show as Red Bull’s teen sensation heads for Ferrari’s home circuit only days after making the Italian team’s drivers see red.
While triple world champion Lewis Hamilton is aiming for his 50th Grand Prix win on Sunday, to become the first since Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s to win three years in a row at Monza, Verstappen will be the talk of the town.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner joked after a controversial Belgian GP: “I told him not to tell anyone where he is staying in Monza because there might be a few angry fans.”
The 18-year-old tangled with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel at the start before aggressively defending against the former later in the race and then refusing to accept any criticism.
Raikkonen warned afterwards that Verstappen’s late block that forced the Finn to brake on the straight at Spa could have triggered a big accident.
Monza is even faster, with the turbo hybrid cars hitting 360kph on the straight, and Sunday’s race promises another battle between Ferrari and Red Bull to be best of the rest behind leaders Mercedes.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Felipe Massa announced yesterday that he will retire at the end of the season.