BELGIUM: In a dramatic turn of events during the iRacing-hosted Golden Toast Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, two-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen unleashed his fury on an online sim racing rival, resulting in a shocking incident that left spectators stunned.
Verstappen, known for his love of sim racing, took pole position for the three-hour event featuring GT3 cars. However, his race took a tumultuous turn near the halfway mark when he found himself at the center of a collision that ignited his anger.
With just over an hour and 50 minutes remaining, Verstappen’s car was among the vehicles approaching the La Source hairpin. Suddenly, German racer Sven-Ole Haase crashed into Verstappen from behind, causing the Dutch driver to lose control and collide with his Team Redline teammate, Diogo Pinto.
Despite the setback, Verstappen swiftly regained his composure and rejoined the race behind the same group of cars. As they navigated through Eau Rouge, Raidillon, and the Kemmel Straight, it became apparent that Verstappen had something in mind.
Approaching Les Combes, Verstappen daringly cut through the escape area, bypassing the corners. The official livestream commentator recognized Verstappen’s statement and warned of impending chaos.
And chaos ensued. Verstappen targeted Haase in the braking zone for Bruxelles, opting not to hit the brakes himself. Instead, he rammed into the back of Haase’s car, sending both drivers hurtling into the gravel and crashing into the barriers.
The commentator summarized the situation: “Sven Haase is not the best friend of Max Verstappen after all that.” Replays revealed that Haase had initially forced Verstappen off track through the first half of the Bus Stop chicane. Verstappen retaliated by pushing Haase off the track, leading to a more significant collision.
As the replay unfolded, the commentator expressed dismay, stating, “I’m afraid Verstappen has overreacted horrendously to that.” Moments later, Verstappen was disqualified from the race due to his actions.
The incident sent shockwaves through the sim racing community, with fans and experts divided in their opinions. Some criticized Verstappen’s aggressive response, deeming it an overreaction, while others viewed it as a display of his fierce competitive spirit.
Verstappen’s actions have sparked debates about sportsmanship and the line between virtual and real-world racing. As sim racing continues to gain popularity, incidents like these highlight the intensity and emotions that can arise even in virtual competitions.