Sakhir Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says the comments he made after Romain Grosjean’s crash on Sunday were ‘misunderstood’, and has clarified what he meant.
Max Verstappen has clarified comments that he made after Romain Grosjean’s crash in Bahrain on Sunday.
Speaking in the press conference after the race, in which he finished in P2, Verstappen was asked about whether drivers should be given the option to back out of a race if they witness something as distressing as Grosjean’s accident. Verstappen said that if he was team boss and his driver came to him saying he didn’t want to race, he would kick that driver out of his seat.
“If the guy wouldn’t race and I would be the team boss, I would tell him then you never sit in the seat again. Yeah.” Verstappen told the media.
The comments met with some backlash from fans, who felt the Dutch driver was unduly harsh and inconsiderate in this hypothetical situation. Kevin Magnussen, Grosjean’s teammate, did not request to sit out the race.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Sakhir, Verstappen addressed his comments and said their intent was misunderstood: “I think people misunderstood what I meant. What I was trying to say is that as drivers we know the risks when we get in the car and if anyone has doubts they should consider stopping racing.”
“There is nothing wrong with that if you feel uncomfortable to race but we are part of a team and they rely on us to do our job which is drive the car. Had Romain not walked away obviously things would have been very different on Sunday.”
Verstappen said his opinion didn’t change, and that drivers from the past all had to cope with accidents in which their friends and rivals suffered death and serious injury.
“I think back in the 60s and 70s it was way more dangerous and the drivers of that era were still going out on track because they knew it was their job and that’s what they loved to do, even though they knew the risk was very high of losing their friends around them.” Verstappen said. “The safety in place now is incredible and I respect everyone’s own decisions but that is how I feel. Nobody ever wants to see an accident like that but all that really matters is that Romain is ok.”