Max Verstappen has emphasised that he doesn't intend to change his approach to racing other drivers hard, despite the Dutchman arguably missing out on some points due to taking this approach in the first half of the season.
Verstappen missed out on the chance to challenge for the British Grand Prix victory last month, after a clash with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton into Copse corner. The British driver was found predominantly to blame for the collision, which was scant consolation for Verstappen, who had to watch on from the sidelines as Hamilton romped to victory.
“I will continue to race like I did," Verstappen told The Race.
“I felt like I didn’t do anything wrong in that fight. I gave him more than enough space but he completely misjudged the cornering speeds, and especially the angle he went into that corner there was no way he was going to make the corner with the speed he entered it.
“When you go so close to the inside wall, on the entry to Copse and then still try to do the same speed as I am doing while opening up the corner again and then giving him more than a car width space, you’re going run out of road.
"But this time he ran into my right rear and caused me to hit the wall.
"I was very well aware where I was positioning my car and I also know that you go in with such a tight angle, especially from his side, from entry to mid to the exit you have to open up the corner, to give him the space. But he still ran out of space. From my side I continue to race like I did. And I think he will also learn from what happened there.”
Verstappen's frustrations continued at the next race in Hungary, with the Red Bull driver taken out of contention at the first corner, after a mistake from Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas triggered a chain reaction of clashes. Verstappen was completely innocent in that situation, and recovered to finish tenth on track (ninth if Sebastian Vettel's disqualification stands).
There were other moments of aggression from Verstappen that needed Hamilton's co-operation to avoid incidents, such as at the start at Imola, and Catalunya, but the Verstappen doesn't feel it's aggression. He believes it's simply a case of making life difficult for the other driver.
“I feel like I just race hard," he said.
“I don’t feel like I race aggressive. Of course, I will make it difficult if people will try to pass me. I will always try to make it difficult for them, to put them in difficult positions.
“But I think my awareness of where I can position my car is really good and I haven’t been involved in having another car off the track. I have zero penalty points. I think that says quite a lot.
“I have been racing hard my whole career. And the last few years, the aggressive approach is out. I’m just making it more difficult for people.
“Of course, some people might think a bit different about that, but I actually think that the racing side is a really strong point of mine and I also really know how to stay out of trouble.
“But that is not always in your hands if other people drive into you.”