Charles Coates/Getty Images

''I'll just do my own thing and show my driving style like it was before,'' Verstappen said.

September 01, 2016

MONZA, Italy (AP) — Max Verstappen was greeted by a chorus of boos and derogatory whistles when he walked onto pit lane before a crowd of red-clad Ferrari fans at the Italian Grand Prix on Thursday.

It was quite a contrast from last weekend's Belgian GP, where thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans cheered on the Red Bull driver during a tangle with the two Ferrari cars.

The hostile reception in Monza, which is effectively Ferrari's home track, came immediately after Verstappen said he would stick with his aggressive tactics.

''I'll just do my own thing and show my driving style like it was before,'' Verstappen said.

In Belgium, Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel on the first turn, and infuriated Raikkonen with aggressive blocking moves later in the race.

Raikkonen lost his cool and angrily berated Verstappen in Spa.

''Personally, I have nothing against Max. He's doing a good job and he's fast,'' Raikkonen said. ''It's just certain things, at least in my opinion, it's not correct if you have to slow down or brake at full speed.''

The Ferraris were pushed wide during the incident and, as a consequence, Raikkonen nudged into the side of Vettel.

Racing
New wave of young drivers changing the face of racing

''That was very unfortunate,'' Verstappen said. ''There were no penalties given so there's no reason to change something. We all learn from it as well. Even when you are a very experienced driver you can still learn.''

Vettel, the four-time Formula One champion, was still planning to have a chat with Verstappen about the incident. He believes that direct discussion among the drivers is a better way to deal with such incidents than having stewards intervening.

''It would be much better if you leave us to deal with it, and it would also enhance the amount of respect among drivers just to talk about it and, if you're angry, sometimes also get out of the car and hit the other guy,'' Vettel said with a laugh as he got less serious. ''We're not allowed to do that anymore.

''In many regards we have too many things and too many people with opinions. You say you have too many cooks in the kitchen.''

Verstappen likened the situation to other football players telling Zlatan Ibrahimovic to move from forward to defender.

''I don't think he would listen to those guys. If he likes to attack, he wants to attack,'' Verstappen said. ''So, it's not because other drivers tell me that I have to change my driving style that I will change my driving style.''

The duel between Verstappen and Ferrari has, for the moment, overshadowed the ongoing battle between championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who is nine points behind.

Rosberg won in Belgium after Hamilton was forced to start on the back row but Hamilton has won in Monza the past two years. Last year, Hamilton achieved a grand slam at the storied circuit outside Milan, dominating each practice session then taking pole position and the checkered flag.

Ferrari hasn't won its home race since Fernando Alonso in 2010.

''It comes at a right time. We need a bit of a boost,'' said Vettel, who finished second in Monza a year ago in his debut season with Ferrari. ''It would be a dream come true to win here dressed in red. ... We have a good chance to fight for the podium and maybe more.''

---

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf

You May Like