Max Verstappen has been praised by former World Champion Alain Prost for the way he goes about racing and not being “afraid by the political game.”
The Dutchman is known for his unapologetic style both on track and off it and is often unafraid to speak his mind, regardless of how it may rub some people up the wrong way.
A particular example of that came in Las Vegas but Prost has praised Verstappen for doing exactly that.
Max Verstappen praised by Alain Prost for no-nonsense approach
As F1 prepared for its grand opening of the Vegas race last season, there was one man happy to speak out against it.
Verstappen criticised the pageantry on display and said he is far more concerned with the racing itself than the ‘show’ around it.
Despite the criticism, Vegas did manage to put on an entertaining race, won by Verstappen, but it was just another example of the Red Bull driver being happy to say how he feels.
“I like him very much because he’s a little bit different in the way he thinks and speaks,” Prost told Motorsport Magazine. “Even in Las Vegas he was focused on racing and winning.”
Another area of complaint from Verstappen has been regarding sprint races with the Dutchman feeling it takes away from Sunday’s main race. That criticism was something that made Prost “very pleased” and he said drivers must be able to be who they are.
“People can like him or not, but at least you must recognise you are not obliged to have the same approach. For me it’s good to see a driver like him,” Prost added.
“I was very pleased to listen to what he also said about not liking the sprint races. At least he says what he thinks and is not afraid by the political game. I like that.”
Prost himself was known as a ‘political’ driver but it is a label he himself does not accept.
“It is really frustrating, a shame,” he said of his reputation. “I don’t know why. If you look at the Senna film. You have [FIA president Jean-Marie] Balestre in the middle of everything, and he was French.
“This story in Japan [regarding which side pole position should be on in 1990] is ridiculous. It was Ayrton’s decision the year before [to start on the right]. People never tell the [full] story, even some media.
“There are two things. This story and Nigel [Mansell] very often saying I was political. You know why? Because I was speaking Italian at Ferrari. We never spoke Italian in the briefing, it was always in English. So I never understood.
“There is a sort of frustration. I was trying to do the best job, like everybody, trying to get the best things that are good for me. I never asked anybody to set up my car, that is for sure.
“I never hid anything about my car – and the other drivers couldn’t drive my set-up anyway. I always did my job. Political? I don’t accept that.”