Max Verstappen has insisted that he maintains a “good relationship” with the stewards in Formula 1, despite the Dutchman’s aggressive driving style causing him to be punished several times during the 2021 season.
Verstappen claimed his first F1 world title with a controversial victory over Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In the heat of a hard-fought battle for the Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen was regularly sanctioned for his role in incidents throughout the season, notably when the Red Bull driver was deemed at fault for his crash with Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix in September.
The 24-year-old has now accrued seven penalty points, and could be at risk of receiving a ban if he receives five more before the race at Monza in the autumn.
Verstappen nonetheless maintains that his relationship with the stewards remains strong, but he and Red Bull are looking at ways to improve ahead of the defence of his world title.
“Overall, I had a really good relationship with the stewards, even when I saw them,” Verstappen revealed, according to Motorsport-Total.com. “There is no bad blood there.
“[But] we are also looking at how we can improve as a team for next season. It’s quite natural to look at everything.”
Verstappen will begin his efforts to retain his world title in Bahrain, with race day in Sakhir set to be March 20.
The Dutchman suggested during the 2021 season that he felt he was harshly treated by stewards compared to other drivers given his reputation as an on-track aggressor.
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