Verstappen is happy for people to be talking about him

Max Verstappen believes in the old adage 'any publicity is good publicity' after his driving style was called into question in recent races.

Tuesday, 27th September 2016, 4:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:20 pm
Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing's Dutch teenager was criticised by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel after the trio collided at the first corner of the Belgian Grand Prix last month, while the Finn also complained about Verstappen's defensive driving.

The 2007 champion Raikkonen and Verstappen had a similar coming-together in Hungary too, with some in the sport questioning whether the Dutchman was too aggressive in his defence.

But far from shying from the attention, Verstappen says he's happy for people to be talking about him.

"I always find it positive when you're a talking point," he said. "Even when it's negative, as long as people are talking it's good.

"The attentions doesn't affect me. The most important thing is to deliver on the track and it's all i'm focused on."

Since stepping up to the senior Red Bull Racing team from Toro Rosso at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, and winning on his debut, Verstappen has been on the podium three more times, climbing to sixth in the driver's standings.

Despite taking to the RB12 like a duck to water, Verstappen feels he is still adapting to the sharper end of the grid but feels he'll be ready to compete for more wins in 2017.

He said: "It's another level, and a big step up. It's hard to say that, because I came in and won my first race, so some people don't think it's such a big step up after all, but it really has been.

"I'm still getting to grips with the car so this year has been a good learning curve for me and I'm focused on next year."

F1 returns to Malaysia this weekend, the scene of Verstappen's first points last season and a place he remembers well.

"I have fond memories of Malaysia," he added. "The weekend started off hard, but it turned around in qualifying and the race.

"Last year, I did a lot of heat training to prepare for it, but after Singapore it hasn't been that hard to adjust."