Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard has drawn parallels between Max Verstappen and tech mogul Elon Musk, likening the three-time World Champion’s outspoken nature to Musk’s drive for free speech. Verstappen’s recent criticism of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, including his unfavorable comparison of the event to Monaco, has sparked discussions within the F1 community. Coulthard, who conducted post-race interviews against the backdrop of the iconic Bellagio hotel, shed light on Verstappen’s candid remarks.
Max Verstappen did not mince words when expressing his discontent with the Las Vegas Grand Prix. From feeling like a “clown” during the opening ceremony to labeling the Vegas street circuit as “National League” in contrast to Monaco’s “Champions League,” the Dutchman made his sentiments clear. Despite these criticisms, Verstappen clinched his 18th victory of the F1 2023 season and later softened his stance during reflections on the race.
During Channel 4’s coverage of the race, Coulthard was asked whether Red Bull team boss Christian Horner would have advised Verstappen to tone down his critique of the event. Coulthard responded by drawing parallels between Verstappen and Elon Musk, highlighting their shared belief in freedom of speech. He noted that while F1’s owners and race promoters may not appreciate Verstappen’s outspokenness, the driver remains true to himself.
Coulthard remarked, “Max is kind of the Elon Musk of the driving force, isn’t he? He believes in freedom of speech. Of course, [F1 owners and Vegas race promoters Liberty Media] won’t like it. They’re just thinking about bottom-line investment in, they’re cold, hard business people at the end of the day, but one shoe doesn’t fit all, and Max fits into that grumpy [section]. That’s who his character is. Be true to yourself.”
Pundit Jamie Chadwick, a fellow commentator, defended Verstappen’s critical stance on the Vegas Grand Prix, emphasizing his singular focus on on-track performance. She praised Verstappen’s dedication to racing, stating, “He loves to race. He gets in that car, he just wants to win – he doesn’t care much for the rest of it.” Chadwick acknowledged that while Verstappen’s approach may differ from others in the sport, it adds a unique flavor to F1.
Chadwick explained, “That’s Max, and everything he does, it’s just him. You’ve got to respect that. He’s a three-time World Champion for a reason, and I have a lot of admiration for what he does. I’m sure Red Bull are frustrated by things he says, but we love it.”