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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Max Verstappen's 'inexperience' is costing Red Bull points, warns Lewis Hamilton

F1 world champion believes 'not mature decisions' are jeopardising the Dutchman's chances

Max Verstappen, left, and Lewis Hamilton race against each other during the Bahrain Grand Prix. Lars Baron / Getty Images
Max Verstappen, left, and Lewis Hamilton race against each other during the Bahrain Grand Prix. Lars Baron / Getty Images

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has criticised Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen for failing to get the most out of his car so far this season.

The opening two rounds of the 2018 F1 season have proved disappointing for Verstappen, with costly mistakes in Australia resulting in a sixth-place finish and a retirement in the third lap in Bahrain following a second-lap clash with Hamilton.

Verstappen, 20, is the rising star of F1, already the winner of three races and a driver Hamilton rates as a future champion, but the Mercedes driver was critical of how the Dutchman drove at Sakhir on Sunday.

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"They (Red Bull) have a car which should be getting good results, but through inexperience, or not mature decisions, they are not," Hamilton told reporters.

"Max should have had a decent race. If [McLaren's] Fernando [Alonso] was in their car, he would have got points for Red Bull. If I was in their car, I would have got points for Red Bull.

"I hope he is learning through these situations. I went through that when I was younger so I know how it is. It is easy to get ahead of yourself and forget to respect the other guys that you are racing against."

Hamilton, 33, said Verstappen, who crashed in the first phase of qualifying in Bahrain and started 15th, had "fantastic pace" but young drivers did not always make the right decisions.

Red Bull are fourth in the championship after two races, behind Renault-powered rivals McLaren, despite having a car that looked in testing to be on a par with Ferrari - winners in Australia and Bahrain.

The team's other driver, Australian Daniel Ricciardo, retired early on in Bahrain with an electrical failure. Vertappen won two races last season, ending the season strongly.

Hamilton finished third in Bahrain, after starting ninth due to a grid penalty for a gearbox change, and he suffered communications problems during the race.

The Briton said that was something the team needed to address and would discuss ahead of this weekend's race in Shanghai.

"I was driving around in kind of no-man's land for a while, but that's just something we need to work on. The radio wasn't working properly. And in the heat of the moment, it's very difficult to know what information you need to give," he said.

"They couldn't hear me, I could hear them. But they would always come back saying 'I can't hear you'.

"And obviously then when you do try to give feedback on a corner, you're taking your mind off driving a perfect line."

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