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Max Verstappen Cautious to Blame Spa Circuit for Fatal Crash

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Published By: Aditya Maheshwari

Last Updated: July 02, 2023, 08:38 IST

Spielberg Bei Knittelfeld, Austria

Max Verstappen (AP Image)

Max Verstappen added that lessons should be learned from the crash, but cautioned against blaming the circuit layout.

Max Verstappen was cautious to blame the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium for a fatal crash that claimed the life of a fellow-Dutchman on Saturday.

The defending double world champion won a rain-hit wet-and-dry sprint race ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez before he commented on the tragedy at the Belgian circuit, one of his favourites.

Verstappen said he felt “incredibly sad” to learn of the death of teenager Dilano Van’t Hoff in rain-swept conditions on the Kemmel Straight in an accident during a Formula Regional European Championship race.

“I didn’t know him personally,” he explained.

“He was a Dutch racing driver, an up-and-coming driver who had the same dreams as we all had when we were at that age, wanting to get into Formula One or whatever.

“It’s incredibly sad for the whole family and all involved. The team MP Motorsport — I know quite a lot of people in there.”

He added that lessons should be learned from the crash, but cautioned against blaming the circuit layout.

“We have to look into these kind of situations. It’s easy to blame the track, but I think also looking at how wet it was and these kind of things, there are definitely things that we have to look at for the future.

“What can we do to protect the drivers better? I think today it was unnecessary really.”

Van ‘t Hoff, 18, was the second junior driver killed at the Spa- circuit in four years.

Frenchman Anthoine Hubert was killed in a similar Formula Two crash at Raidillion, a part of the track that follows the infamous Eau Rouge corner and close to the Kemmel straight.

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll said he wanted to see the circuit layout changed.

“It’s a tragic day,” he said. “We lost a driver today so I want everyone to think about that. My thoughts are with him.

“It breaks my heart. I think Eau Rouge at Spa needs looking into because we’ve lost two drivers there in four or five years. It’s really dangerous. We say so every year and it’s not fair. It has to change.”

According to Dutch daily La Deriere Heure/Les Sports, Van ‘t Hoff’s car hit a barrier at over 200kmh and the following driver was unable to avoid crashing into his stricken car.

In the aftermath of a wet-dry race at Spielberg, where Verstappen triumphed after surviving a first corner skirmish with Red Bull team-mate Perez, there was much debate about racing in very wet conditions with little or no clear visibility.

“He pushed me off,” shouted an angry Verstappen. “It could have been a really big shunt. We need to have a chat about that.”

Perez said he had not seen Verstappen due to the poor visibility and the pair had settled their differences. “It was a hairy moment,” said Verstappen later.

Team boss Christian Horner said the pair had to avoid similar incidents in future and needed to ensure they gave each other space.

“The rules are very fair, race hard, but give each other space.”

Verstappen’s win ahead of Perez in a Red Bull one-two earned him eight points to extend his title race lead to 70 points ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

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