Mercedes driver George Russell has said he does not need to clarify anything with Max Verstappen following their on and off-track clash at the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend.
In Baku, George Russell crashed into the side of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull during Saturday’s Sprint race as he attempted to overtake the Dutchman at the start of the race.
On the run into Turn 1, the Red Bull driver failed to make a good start in the Saturday Sprint race, and allowed George Russell to come alongside. Verstappen gave the Mercedes driver plenty of room on the inside, but as the two continued to race wheel to wheel through Turn 2, Russell found plenty of grip and tore a large hole in the side of Verstappen’s car.
Verstappen’s car was damaged as a result and the reigning world champion had a heated discussion with Russell at the finish.
Verstappen was third behind his team-mate and Charles LeClerc, with the Red Bull’s aerodynamics clearly affected by this.
Verstappen went over to confront Russell, who tried to explain that his tyres were cold, which led to the blocking and collision. Max was in no mood for what he saw as ‘measly’ words and told Russell to “expect next time the same.”
The exchange finished with Verstappen calling Russell a “d**k head”.
Max was asked about the wisdom of putting his car on the outside of the corner when racing side-by-side in the post-race media interviews.
The Red Bull driver was quick to respond saying: “It’s not allowed because Princess George is there? That’s ultimately his problem!”
Contemporary usage of the word princess describes someone who has a sense of entitlement, can be high maintenance and sees things from their perspective.
“He tells me ‘yeah I got cold tyres’. We all have cold tyres – that’s not an excuse.” continues Max.
“I don’t like it when somebody has that kind of reaction about… ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’ – and then just walks off.”
When told about Verstappen’s comments Russell states: “I don’t need an apology at all…”
“But he’s a two-time World Champion, leading the Championship again at the moment. It doesn’t bother me, but he probably lets himself down a little bit with those sort of comments.
But despite what some of the media have been reporting over the past few days, the relationship between the two men is as good as ever insists Russell, and that he did not need to clarify anything with Max Verstappen as the matter is now in the past.
Horner warns Russell “he’ll remember”
Red Bull team boss issues a warning to Russell after the incident saying: “But you can understand that [he’s upset], he’s a competitive driver and when you get damage to your car and it affects your race, I’d be disappointed if he was just happy with that.
“He’s like an elephant, he’ll remember that, he’ll bank that for a while.”
Russell: “No need to talk to Max”
During the buildup to the Miami Grand Prix, Russell continues to downplay the rivalry between himself and Verstappen, stating that there’s no need to talk and everything is fine.
“I will continue to race as I always have. A lot of things have been said about that discussion [between Verstappen and Russell as they got out of the car in Baku], but from my side it’s pretty straightforward,” the Mercedes driver said in Miami on Thursday.
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Russell still believes he did nothing wrong
“I tried to overtake, made my overtake and kept going. Obviously he was pretty upset about it, but that’s racing.” said Russell who maintains that he was not at fault.
“Things like that can happen, we are all here to fight. That’s what F1 is all about. From my side, there is no air to purify, I will welcome him and say hello if he passes by. I’m sure we’ll shake hands if we run into each other.”
“For me, it’s ancient history now. My view of him is still the same and I still respect him. I still think he’s a great driver. Obviously, some things are said in the heat of the moment, but we’re moving on now.”
Asked about his relationship with George Russell, Max Verstappen also assured that there was absolutely no tension between him and his Mercedes mate, officially.
“No, of course not. Maybe that’s what people like to hear. But everything is fine,” said the Red Bull driver.
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