Martin Brundle is curious to see whether Max Verstappen can avoid tarnishing his reputation in a way he feels that Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna did. The Red Bull driver was unable to match the pace of the Ferrari duo during the Austrian Grand Prix, but Brundle has praised the way in which Verstappen put up a "fair" fight against them. "The Ferraris of [Charles] Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were simply better on their tyres and much faster than Verstappen, and by some margin allowing them to travel twice as far on their opening set of Medium compound tyres," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports F1 . "They could regain track position at will against Max, who once again was very fair and professional in his driving and defence."
Verstappen must avoid "dirty driving", says Brundle
Brundle feels that Verstappen has more often than not taken this approach to racing during the 2022 campaign, but has questioned whether the Dutchman will be able to maintain this should the championship battle heat up. "Generally he is [fair] this year, albeit very much pushing the limits in his defence against Mick Schumacher the week before at Silverstone," Brundle continued. "I remember commenting in Jeddah last year Michael Schumacher's, and to an extent Ayrton Senna's amazing legacies are partly diminished by some dirty driving, and that Max would do well to avoid that career reputation. "It will be interesting to see how that goes if push literally comes to shove in the championship."
Verstappen maintains championship lead
Despite Leclerc's victory at the Red Bull Ring moving him back up to second in the World Championship standings, Verstappen still has a 38-point lead. However, Brundle acknowledges that this could so easily have been a different story. "Max calmly and skilfully leads the championship by 38 points over Charles," the former F1 driver said. "But that could have been so different if Ferrari had been more reliable such as in Spain and Azerbaijan, or sharper on strategy such as in Monaco and Britain. "Max of course had two retirements in the first three races but Leclerc's pace throughout has been deeply impressive, and if you wear a neutral F1 cap we are so far being denied another cliffhanger of a championship."