Russell hits back: Max Verstappen let himself down with those comments

Russell and Verstappen exchanged some heated words on Saturday at the 2023 Azerbaijan GP

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George Russell was not happy with Max Verstappen‘s behaviour at the end of the 2023 Azerbaijan GP Sprint Race after the pair had a brief confrontation in the paddock.

Following contact between the pair on Lap 1, which damaged Verstappen’s sidepod, the pair exchanged words in parc ferme where the reigning world champion called Russell a d**khead.

“There was nothing really to say from my side at the end of the day it’s heat of the moment for everybody,” said Russell to the media after the race. “I don’t know if he comes across differently now at the end of the day.

“It’s a racing incident. I don’t need an apology, but he’s a two-time world champion leading it again at the moment.

“It doesn’t bother me, but he probably let himself down with those comments. Max is a super good guy, great driver, just words like that are a bit unnecessary.”

Disappointed with race after botched restart

Mercedes of George Russell at 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix | LAT Images/Mercedes F1 Team

In the Grand Prix itself, Russell had his work cut out from 11th, but he had climbed into the points before making a mess of the restart, nearly collecting Fernando Alonso.

With his tyres scrubbed, Russell lost ground to Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll, who duly passed him before Mercedes pitted him for an attempt at the fastest lap, which he secured on the final tour.

“A little bit disappointed in myself, made a really good start, got into a good position, and I just made a mess of the restart said Russell. “I was defending from Lance, [and] almost ran into the back of Fernando.

“Got my tyres dirty, ultimately, it’s why Lance and Lewis got by. From then on, it was line astern I don’t know what it was like behind, but from my side, there was no overtaking.

“I’ll take the extra point, but the only reason we had that opportunity was because we were in a bad position, so whether we finished P4 or P8 as we did, it’s far from P1.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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