Niki Lauda is furious with Max Verstappen for colliding with Nico Rosberg at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, saying he could have cost the Mercedes driver the championship.

Lining up second on the grid, Rosberg came under pressure from the Red Bull man. Verstappen dived on the inside and made contact with the German, who took evasive action through the grass and re-joined in second place.

“Nico was clearly in front,” Lauda said. “And Verstappen then rams him off the track. This could have cost Nico the championship. It is not acceptable.

“It’s Verstappen’s fault. He drives too aggressively. At some point, he has to realise it.”

The former triple world champion welcomed the stewards’ decision to penalise Verstappen for not yielding P3 to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after going off track in the closing stages of the race.

“That was a just and right decision,” Lauda added. “A repeat offender like him has to be penalised.

“[Red Bull motorsport advisor] Helmut Marko should talk to him. If he didn’t drive that aggressively, he would develop much better.

“His talent is unbelievable, but then he smashes it all with these stupid actions. He doesn’t realise, he thinks he is doing everything right, but he doesn’t. He has to calm down.”

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