<
>

Max Verstappen saw rivals' mid-season criticism as a good thing

Max Verstappen believes the criticism he received from fellow drivers earlier this season has only acted to enhance his reputation in Formula One.

Verstappen was accused of dangerous driving following the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix after three incidents where he moved over on a competitor under braking. The Dutch teenager was not punished by the stewards following the incidents, but became a hot topic of conversation in the German Grand Prix drivers' briefing and in the media.

Despite being on the receiving end of critical comments from several drivers over the course of the year, Verstappen believes the added attention has only been a good thing.

"I always consider it a positive when you are a talking point in F1," he said. "Even when it is negative or positive, it doesn't matter. As long as they are talking about you that's good.

"The attention doesn't really affect me. For me the most important thing is to deliver on the track and that's what I'm focusing on."

Verstappen was promoted to the senior Red Bull team at the Spanish Grand Prix this year and won on his debut for the four-time world champions. He admits that the season has been a steep learning curve so far, but sees it as a crucial step ahead of a full season with the team next year.

"The things that changed for me since joining [Red Bull] is that it's another level. It's stepping up quite a big step, but it's a bit difficult for me to comment on that because if you come in and win your first race then maybe people don't believe that it's such a big step, but it is.

"I'm still learning right now and getting to grips with the car better in every session. I think this year is a good learning school for me to get really well prepared for next year."