Verstappen fortunate to avoid terminal damage in Russell clash – Red Bull

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen was close to being taken out of yesterday’s sprint race in his collision with George Russell, his team have said.

The pair tangled at turn two on the first lap at the Baku City Circuit. Russell’s front-right wheel touched the left-hand side of Verstappen’s RB19, damaging his floor and leaving a hole in his sidepod.

The team’s chief engineer of car engineering said Verstappen had been lucky to be able to continue in the race, which he finished in third place.

“The physical damage was the bodywork,” he told media including RaceFans in Baku. “Fortunately it missed the radiator just underneath the ancillaries, so we didn’t sort of get punted out.”

While Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull was able to pass Charles Leclerc and win the race, Verstappen was unable to overtake their rival even when the Ferrari’s lap times dropped off.

The aerodynamic loss Verstappen’s car suffered from the damage was “massive”, said Monaghan. “It’s difficult to know precisely – we don’t put a car in the wind tunnel that looks like that – [but on] lap time it was notable, yes.”

Verstappen’s car in Red Bull the garage on Sunday morning
“We estimate the balance shift from it, but it’s also a load loss,” he added. “It’s near the middle of the car so fortunately, we didn’t have terminal oversteer or understeer. But the load loss was notable and very obvious.”

Red Bull were beaten to pole position for the first time this year in Baku, but Perez was easily able to pass Leclerc and win yesterday. The team remain confident they’ve made the right decision on their race set-up.

“We have set our car up to do what we perceive as the best compromise for qualifying the race,” said Monaghan. “And we’ll either be proven or unwound today. Your qualifying performance you can distort a little bit if you choose to do so, but it might come back to haunt you on Sunday afternoon.

“This track’s a little bit different from all the ones we’ve been through so far. So I’m not surprised at the steps the others have made and where they are relative to us. As I say, we made our choice.

“We get one go at it on the Friday morning. We stuck with our choice and we’ll either be proven right or wrong later today.”

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2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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9 comments on “Verstappen fortunate to avoid terminal damage in Russell clash – Red Bull”

  1. The amount of reactions such a non-event is getting is quite telling for the current state of F1. Verstappen has lost a maximum of 1 point in an incident that wouldn’t even get mentioned in some other racing series.
    There are more events/sessions than ever on the calendar, less and less of which are truly memorable. If you name any race from the second half of the ’90s or the ’00s, there is a good chance I can recall what happened there, but name a race from the last few years and I’ll probably struggle…

    1. Agreed. There is way too much F1 these days. It’s not special anymore.

      1. Yellow Barron
        30th April 2023, 13:03

        Neither is it much good. What does F1 have over other series? Other than the fastest cars. Nothing really when it comes to racing. It’s sad because I loved F1 but it’s not the same anymore. Watching indycar actually feels like watching racing, F1 is all hype now. Liberty ruined F1. 2021 was the turning point. Perhaps I’m wrong and it was earlier

    2. Verstappen has lost a maximum of 1 point in an incident that wouldn’t even get mentioned in some other racing series.

      If you could read Max’s mind, I think you would find that he feels that he missed the opportunity to be close behind Perez and have the well known “Max is faster than you” thrown at Perez.
      He feels he was entitled to the win.

      1. Actually, one would think he could’ve overtaken perez too without contact, however it’s partially self-inflicted here, need to pick your battles.

    3. Mmm, I guess that’s true, I think several people would remember what happened in eventful races such as russia 2021 or austria 2019, to make 2 examples, but if you pick a boring race it’s probably been forgotten by most.

  2. I find the whole thing unbelievable coming from a team and a driver that drove 50 feet off the track in Brazil 2021 with another car outside. Stewards didn’t review. There are probably another 5 times during 2021 alone that a RB pushed the outside car off the track whilst performing a “racing move.” And in the race today, during the first lap there was a similar tap that occured and a bump from behind and it was only mentioned in passing.

    1. I think verstappen was annoyed cause there was contact, however as I recall some of the times he pushed hamilton wide, probably imola for example, there was contact and he never said he made a mistake.

  3. Clumsy alsmost rookie like mistake from George. Not surprisingly, he showed quite a lot of it last season. Not sure whether he will outgrow it. It needs to be rather soon then, or I do not see it happening at all.

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