As Renault looks set to retain Vitaly Petrov in 2011, former F1 racer Jos Verstappen has slammed the Russian rookie as the “worst driver” on the grid this year.
“The Russian Vitaly Petrov I feel was the worst newcomer and the worst driver (overall),” Dutchman Verstappen, who scored 2 podiums in his 107 grands prix between 1994 and 2003, said.
Verstappen, now 38 and overseeing his son Max’s karting career, admitted in his column for De Telegraaf newspaper that he thought Petrov drove well in Abu Dhabi to keep Fernando Alonso at bay.
“But apart from this race I mostly see Petrov as good at making mistakes,” he wrote.
“Whether against a wall, spinning off or messing up his start, he ruined quite a few races and you can’t let that happen when you’re driving for a strong team like Renault.
“The different in quality and in points with his teammate Robert Kubica was enormous, but it’s maybe not a fair comparison because Kubica – along with Vettel and Alonso – is the very best,” added Verstappen.
Also in the Telegraaf column, Verstappen said Mark Webber had a “good season” with Red Bull but understands the team’s frustration that he kept his shoulder injury from them.
“He hurt himself on a mountain bike, which doesn’t sound like a good idea, especially when you’re in the race for the title. In that case you need to be extra careful.
“More clumsy still is keeping quiet about it even with his own team. I can understand and well imagine the disappointment and frustration of the principal Christian Horner,” he added.
As for F1’s new champion Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen said the young German had “anything but a spotless year with big mistakes here and there”.
And he admitted his disappointment that “one of the best newcomers” in 2010 Nico Hulkenberg has lost his Williams seat.
“I’ve known Nico for quite a few years and think he’s a damn good driver,” said Verstappen. “It’s difficult to contend with a seasoned pro like Rubens Barrichello, but while he might not have done a great job, he certainly wasn’t bad.
“I hope he finds somewhere else for next year because his seat at Williams has been bought by Pastor Maldonado,” he said.
© RIF | GMM