M ax Verstappen is one of the great attractions of the Formula 1. Thanks to him, the Motodrom at the Hockenheim Grand Prix will largely be illuminated in orange. Thanks to him the race at Spa-Francorchamps will be sold out again. And thanks to him, there is always a lot of spectacle in the premier class. For the youngster, who snapped one age record after the other, it practically only went up in the first three years.
But after only 6 races in the 2018 season there is a lot more of the great Verstappen hype left. The Dutchman made one mistake after another. Small slip-ups alternated with serious collisions. The world title is a long way off. There has recently been heavy criticism from experts and former pilots. Too aggressive, too impatient, not mature enough - even your own team demanded a new attitude from its driver.
But how serious were the six mistakes in the first six races? We wanted to know exactly where Verstappen would be in the drivers' standings if he had taken a little less risk in some situations. To do this, we once again analyzed the race history of the first races of the year and simply calculated out the mistakes made by the Red Bull driver.
The analysis is relatively low for the season opener in Melbourne just off. Verstappen had damaged the underbody while driving over the curbs too wildly and made a spin on lap 9. Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg slipped through. Because Grosjean later failed and Hülkenberg was overtaken by an undercut, Verstappen only lost one position at first glance.
However, because of the loss of time on the spin and the battered car, Fernando Alonso also got the chance to get through to make a stop in the virtual safety car phase, which would otherwise not have been possible for the Spaniard. Or to put it another way: before his turn, Verstappen was still ahead of his teammate Ricciardo, who finished fourth in the end. So that would have been the place Verstappen would have taken without the mistake. So 4 points were lost.
In Bahrain the 'what-if-question' is no longer that easy to answer. In qualifying, Verstappen fired his car into the tire wall at Turn 2. After a while, the RedBull officials admitted that it was a driving error. From starting position 16, the youngster made up 5 places in the first lap. But in the duel with Lewis Hamilton there was a serious collision. Verstappen dragged himself into the pits with a punctured tire, but had to give up only a short time later with a defect in the differential.
It is difficult to say where the car with starting number 33 would have ended up. Thanks to the good racing pace, team advisor Helmut Marko even thought victory was possible, but at least a podium. Hamilton later ended up in third place, 6.5 seconds behind Vettel and Bottas. Because it cannot be said whether Verstappen would really have overtaken the other top cars on the track, we conservatively put him in 4th place in our calculation.
At At the races in China, Red Bull was able to play out the good racing pace for the first time. A clever second pit stop in a safety car phase gave Verstappen and Ricciardo the tire wild card for the final third of the race. At the restart on lap 37, the Dutchman was still ahead of his team mate. A failed attack on Hamilton reversed the order. Five laps later he collided with the Vettel Ferrari, which resulted in a massive loss of time. Hamilton also lost a position against Raikkonen because he had to evade the Red Bull, which has to be included in the calculation.
In the end, Verstappen finished behind Bottas and Raikkonen. Team mate Ricciardo easily won the race with a lead of almost 9 seconds. You don't have to speculate for long here: Without mistakes and with a little more patience, there would have been a Red Bull double success with Max Verstappen at the top level in the end. Without the collision, Vettel would have finished fourth behind Bottas and would not have slipped to 8th place with a damaged car.
Just two weeks after China, Verstappen immediately made the next goat. In the crash with team-mate Ricciardo, the commissioners subsequently distributed the blame equally between both drivers. But if Ricciardo hadn't taken part of the responsibility in the survey, as instructed by his team, then it would have been a hefty punishment for Verstappen. Practically all experts and driver colleagues agreed that the double lane change when defending caused the crash.
The collision on lap 39 had even more far-reaching consequences than just the double retirement for both Red Bulls, which is normally the case would have landed in places 4 and 5. Bottas would have won the race without the safety car thanks to the tire advantage in the final laps - the Mercedes strategists are sure of that. But at the restart, Magnussen lost a baffle from his Haas racer in a duel with Gasly, which later caused a tire damage and Bottas to retire.
Would have been without the restartVettel probably didn't have the chance to attack Bottas either, where he braked the tire at an angle, which in the end threw him back to fourth place. Hamilton would never have won the race under normal circumstances, and Raikkonen and Perez in second and third positions also benefited from the chaos in the final laps caused by the Red Bull crash.
Compared to the crashes in Bahrain and Baku, the collision in Barcelona was almost harmless. In a restart phase, Verstappen collided with Lance Stroll's Williams and damaged the front wing. Here the Dutchman was lucky that his car did not lose too much pace despite the damage, so that he could do without a repair stop.
The mistake had no effect on the result. The two Mercedes were unbeatable in Barcelona. Sebastian Vettel posed no danger with his tire problems behind Verstappen. And team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had lost a lot of time through a self-inflicted spin and was therefore no longer able to intervene in the battle for the podium.
In the case of classics in the principality, the consequences of the crash in the third training session were all the greater for Verstappen. The mechanics did not manage to get the damaged car back into operation by qualifying. Verstappen had to start from the very back in the race. In the end, he only ended up in 9th place and scored a meager two points.
What would have been possible with the Red Bull in Monte Carlo was impressively demonstrated by Daniel Ricciardo. In qualifying, the Australian easily secured pole position. Despite the failed MGU-K, he didn't give the competition a chance in the race. Even with a conservative calculation, Verstappen would have landed at least in second place.
If you add up all the results and World Cup points, you get an interesting result. Without his mistakes in the series, Max Verstappen would not have 35 championship points but a whopping 90 points and would be third in the table in the middle of the fight for the title.
Almost even more interesting than the score of the Dutch crash kings are the effects on the other pilots. At the top the order would be completely reversed. Sebastian Vettel would not be 14 points behind Hamilton but 17 points ahead. Next to Vettel, Bottas is the biggest victim of the Verstappen mistakes. His score would increase from 68 to 85 points.
In the gallery we show you again the numerous mistakes made by Max Verstappen in the first six races of the year.