Max Verstappen makes “a lot of mistakes” which could cost him against Charles Leclerc in the title battle, according to ex-Ferrari star Eddie Irvine. He warned Verstappen gets “carried away” during races and suggested the Dutchman has a problem with his aggression.
Leclerc has suffered a range of high profile mistakes in qualifying sessions, such as during the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix. The Monegasque set the fastest lap of the final session and was set to start from pole but his late crash meant he couldn’t start the race.
Ferrari’s young star also lost control on his hot lap during the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku which probably cost him pole. However, Irvine warns qualifying incidents were “not so relevant” compared to issues during the race.
Speaking to La Gazzetto dello Sport, he said: “I don’t believe anyone is faster than Verstappen, but he still makes a lot of mistakes. Leclerc doesn’t do that. Having such an incident in qualifying is generally not so relevant.
“Verstappen makes the mistake of always letting himself be carried away in terms of aggressiveness.” The reigning champion has suffered a terrible start to the new campaign and finds himself sixth in the drivers’ standings.
Red Bull scored a double retirement in Bahrain after a fuel pump issue caught out both Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Verstappen was also forced to retire with just 20 laps remaining in Melbourne.
It means the 24-year-old has thrown away at least 36 points this season from what looked to be two guaranteed second-placed finishes.
However, Irvine still feels it is too early this season to make any predictions for who will lift the crown. The Irishman also believes Verstappen has one hidden weapon on his side in the title hunt, his own team.
He said: “It’s too early to say and every year that goes by it gets more difficult. You have to compete against Red Bull, Verstappen, and Adrian Newey. That is very difficult.”