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Verstappen a future champion but has much to learn: Wolff

Red Bull's Max Verstappen is a Formula One champion-in-waiting, but he showed in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix that he still has much to learn, according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

The 21-year-old Dutch driver and Force India's Esteban Ocon, 22, provided the main talking point after the youngsters clashed on and off the track at Interlagos.

Verstappen pushed and shoved the Force India backmarker at the scales, the images broadcast around the world, after a collision that robbed him of a second successive victory.

"On Max, you can see there is a future champion coming together," Wolff said.

"Unbelievable talent and speed and, once the raw edges are off, he will be a world champion one day.

"In a few years, he will look at the footage of today and will maybe have his own opinion whether that was the right behaviour or not. But you can't accelerate these things, this is a learning process."

Already this season Verstappen has had to fend off questions about why he has had so many accidents, while Ocon's record is hardly blemish-free either after well-chronicled clashes with Force India teammate Sergio Perez.

Sunday's incident drew a range of opinion, with some feeling Verstappen went too far by laying hands on a rival while others saw the Dutchman as justifiably angry at paying the price for another driver's mistake.

Ocon was widely criticised for a risky move in trying to pass the leading car when already lapped. He was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty at the time.

Verstappen, subsequently ordered to do two days of public service as punishment for the pushing, could equally have given the Frenchman a wider berth and kept his eyes firmly on the bigger prize of victory. - REUTERS