Dieter Rencken believes that Max Verstappen is making his intentions clear for the season with his aggressive overtake on Lewis Hamilton at the first corner of the Emilia Romagna GP.
Verstappen, who started third, made a great start to seize the initiative into the first corner and then squeezed Hamilton out to make the Mercedes driver clumsily bump over the kerbs.
It was a forceful, aggressive move to seize control of the race, and Rencken believed it was with the intent of sending a message to his championship rival.
"I think it was more than a statement of intent purely for that race," Rencken said on the new RacingNews365.com podcast.
"I think this was a statement of intent for the entire season. He's basically saying 'Lewis, I'm coming, man. And that's it'.
Praising Verstappen's approach to the weekend in light of the driveshaft failure on Friday, before a slightly subdued qualifying result on Saturday, Rencken explained the Red Bull driver appeared to be able to shrug off the setbacks and disappointment from Bahrain to bounce back on Sunday.
"There was absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Max was really on it all weekend," said Rencken.
"He had that that small slip in qualifying, but that didn't seem to faze him at all. I think he knew that he had the package, he knew that he understood and really enjoys that sort of circuit.
We look at Max and, although he's still very young in terms of years, he's got this traditional approach which he's probably inherited from his father [Jos], who raced during the 90s.
"Max is a real race driver. He was disappointed in Bahrain because of what happened there because he did have fundamentally the fastest car, but he just said, right, we're going to a place that I really enjoy, a place I can love. I'm gonna go for it. And of course he did."
Listen to the new episode of the RacingNews365 podcast below.