Lewis Hamilton defends Max Verstappen's aggression ahead of Italian Grand Prix

Hamilton urged critics to give a break to Verstappen, who has been accused of using aggressive defense tactics.

Max Verstappen has been facing the heat from fellow drivers and Formula One's governing body after the Red Bull racer was accused of using defensive tactics during the Belgian Grand Prix on 28 August.

However, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton defended Verstappen by saying the young Dutchman will learn with more races under his belt.

"I don't know what I would have been like at 18 on track, but I would have made lots of mistakes. I just see a young, talented kid who just seems to have an enormous amount of raw talent. At 18, the maturity hasn't caught up with your ability and that might go faster with some people or slower. Only time will tell." Hamilton was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who was irked by the defensive tactics employed by Verstappen at the Spa last Sunday, said the sport's youngest ever winner would cause an accident sooner or later if he persists with his tactics. Notably, Verstappen, Raikkonen and his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel collided at the first corner of the race. Raikkonen was also forced to brake when he was driving at almost 200mph by the 18-year-old, when he was defending his position.

"If I had not braked, we would have had a massive accident.It will happen sooner or later if this doesn't change. I am fine with good, hard racing but that is not correct," the Finnish racer told BBC.

Verstappen was also called in for a discussion on Friday and the FIA issued a warning to him ahead of Sunday's race in Monza. However, his peers did not raise the issue during the driver's briefing.

Hamilton, who is also bidding to become the third racer in the history of the sport to complete 50 Grand Prix wins, said he had seen worse tactics on the track and that there needs to be a balance between being aggressive and reckless.

"The one where he ran Kimi off, that was an interesting one, but that's just him learning. He is a young aggressive driver. We could all go out there and be reckless. You have to find a balance," he said.

The championship leader also asked the F1 contingent to go easy at the youngster urging the critics to give him a break.

"Firstly, give the guy a break, he is 18 years old. What the heck were any of us doing at 18? He has won a grand prix. The pressure on his young shoulders is something most people will not be able to comprehend," Hamilton added.

Verstappen himself has been unruffled by the criticism as he defended his style by comparing himself to Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"You have to see it like this. Let's say you put Ibrahimovic in terms of attacking you, you put him up as a defender. Would he like it just because other people think he is a better defender? I don't think he will listen to those guys," he was quoted as saying by BBC.