Horner blames Russell for clash with Verstappen

Russell and Verstappen came together at the start of the 2023 Azerbaijan GP Sprint Race, causing damage to the Red Bull car

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that George Russell ran Max Verstappen into the wall after the pair made contact during the early stages of the 2023 Azerbaijan GP Sprint Race.

Verstappen made his frustration known to Russell after the session ended over the incident, which damaged the Red Bull’s floor and cost the Dutchman performance as he looked to chase down the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

While Russell took third from the reigning champion on the first lap, Verstappen ultimately reclaimed the position after the safety car restart, and Horner said he agreed with his driver that blame for the incident lay with the Mercedes.

“For me, from what I’ve seen I’ve only seen the replay once, while I can live with Turn 2, that was hard racing between two hard racers. For me, what felt a bit over the top was Turn 3,” Horner said on Sky Sports F1.

“George is trying to leave enough space, but it’s a very tight corner. It’s weird. I think the damage to the sideboard was done, or it happened at the next corner that I think George just runs Max into the wall.

“So you know, unfortunately the result of it was we ended up with a whole lot of damage, bodywork damage, a big hole in the sideboard, and that cost him quite a bit of performance.”

Understandably annoyed

Horner also defended Verstappen‘s reaction after the session, saying it was understandable that he was frustrated, given it had cost the team a chance at second.

“But I think the great thing is he’s got another chance tomorrow, and he starts on the front row tomorrow. I think he was understandably annoyed with that,” Horner added.

“I think he voiced his opinion. With George, it was probably a good idea he left his crush helmet on.

“But you can understand that 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.”

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