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Max Verstappen: F1 rules have eliminated the art of defending

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Max Verstappen says new rules about how drivers are allowed to defend position have removed the "art" of defending position from Formula One.

Verstappen was criticised by fellow drivers for a series of robust defences this year in which he moved under braking while another car was trying to pass. At the U.S. Grand Prix, FIA race director Charlie Whiting introduced a new interpretation of an existing rule to outlaw moving under braking and Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to fall foul of the regulation at the Mexican Grand Prix a week later.

"That it is just a very complex rule, I think. It is just very difficult," he said. "Before there was an art in defending and overtaking, but the defending bit has gone because you can't do anything. You can't defend, basically, that's my feeling."

Ferrari is appealing the Vettel's Mexico penalty, but Verstappen says the rule has to be obeyed as long as it is in the regulations.

"So of course they thought it was not right so they tried to appeal it but it's clearly in the rules that you can't do it anymore so everybody of course has to follow the rules."

The 19-year-old's driving has come under intense scrutiny this year, but Verstappen, who has not been involved in any major collisions with other drivers this season, remains unflustered.

"I think in general not only in Formula One but just in a lot of sports, when younger people come in and they do well there's always a bit of talk going on, I think that's pretty normal. So I don't see it as a big issue, to be honest."