Max Verstappen’s frustrated radio calls over his non-compliant Drag Reduction System in Barcelona show that his temper is “still on a short fuse”, according to Martin Brundle.
Verstappen’s efforts to overtake George Russell during the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday were thwarted by a DRS issue.
The system wouldn’t function on certain laps, leaving him stuck behind the Mercedes driver for several tours of the circuit.
However, Verstappen eventually jumped Russell through a pit strategy and went on to take the race win, his fourth of the 2022 campaign.
Writing in his post-weekend column for Sky F1, Brundle says that Verstappen’s radio calls display that he’s “fed up” with Red Bull’s reliability concerns this season, as well as his inability to control his temper.
“Max’s 24th victory, matching the great Fangio, wasn’t his finest, partly due to a malfunctioning DRS rear wing flap, also a trip through the turn 4 gravel when a gust of wind caught him out, and furthermore twice being let through by team-mate Sergio Perez,” Brundle said.
“Max was clearly angry on the radio at his team when the DRS wouldn’t work, which was hindering his passing of the ever-impressive Russell in the Mercedes.
“This tells us two things. He’s rather fed up with a catalogue of reliability issues as the team have taken time to finesse and get their new car up to full speed, and down to the weight limit.
“Secondly his temper still has a relatively short fuse, as we saw for example in the brake testing of Hamilton in Saudi Arabia last year, which he has otherwise learned to control well in his quest for victories and a first World Championship.”
Despite his DRS struggles, Verstappen had a chance to overtake Russell, with the two going side-by-side through the opening sequence of corners at one point during the race.
Brundle commended both Verstappen and Russell for their race craft, believing Verstappen’s wheel-to-wheel aggressiveness has toned down compared to 2021.
“It was fascinating to witness his first proper wheel-to-wheel battle with Russell who was defending robustly but fairly, and very well,” Brundle said.
“I happened across the race stewards on Sunday evening and they were of the same opinion that George was pushing the boundaries but not breaking the rules.
“And his run back past Max between the very short turns one and two will be played out for a good while.
“Once again Max was very clean and fair in this enduring battle, more so than when he was against Hamilton last year, which is more fitting of a champion. But of course the championship is not up for grabs yet.”