Max Verstappen, Red Bull and George Russell, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Russell won’t change how he races Verstappen after move which “upset” rival

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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George Russell says he won’t race Max Verstappen any differently following the clash between the pair in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race which angered his rival.

The pair made contact at turn two shortly after the start of the race as Russell overtook the Red Bull. The collision left a substantial hole in Verstappen’s sidepod which his team said caused a “massive” disruption to his car’s handling.

Verstappen confronted Russell in parc ferme after the race and furiously criticised his rival’s driving. However the stewards did not investigate the incident and Russell said he will not change his approach if he goes up against the Red Bull driver again.

“I will continue racing the same way as I always would,” he said. “A lot has been said about that coming-together but from my side, it was pretty straightforward. I went for a move, got the move done and moved on.

“Obviously he was pretty upset about it but that’s racing and these things happen. And we’re all here to fight so that’s what everyone’s about.”

Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Gallery: Miami Grand Prix build-up in pictures
The world champion called Russell a “dickhead” after their collision and referred to him as “princess George” when speaking to Dutch media. However Russell said the pair are ready to put it behind them.

“From my side there’s no air to be cleared. I’ll welcome and say hello to him if he passes by and I’m sure we’ll shake hands when we bump into each other.

“For me it’s history now and it’s behind us. My view to him is still the same, I still respect him, I still think he’s a great driver and obviously things were always said in the heat of the moment but we move on.”

Verstappen jokingly dismissed questions about the relationship between the pair of them, calling it: “Terrible!

“No, of course not. That’s what people maybe like to hear. No, it’s absolutely fine.”

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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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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20 comments on “Russell won’t change how he races Verstappen after move which “upset” rival”

  1. Good for George, it’s not like Verstappen would extend the same courtesy if the situation was reversed. Verstappen has more to lose, so why not exploit that?

  2. How about George concentrate on keeping control of his car, regardless what other drivers may or may not be in the vicinity.

    It’s hilarious how young Mr Russell tries to turn a simple driver error on his part into some sort of statement of intent.

    1. We all need to show George the video of Max expertly keeping control of his car in Brazil as he traveled meters off the track with another racer on the outside. And there is also a video of Max expertly keeping his car under control and leaving space for the outside driver at a bunch of other races.

      1. Watch the first corner at the USA GP 2015, the most aggressive drivers all do it.
        Lewis used to try and bully Rosberg all the time but when Max came along and gave him a taste of his own medicine, everyone lost their minds.

      2. I’d say the key to keeping control of his car will have to be found in young Mr Russell himself.

        Which is why this childlike pointing fingers at others and proclaiming most loudly how his mistake was totally intentional is so disappointing.

      3. Can’t see how Max’s past errors make GR right. Max left him plenty of space and still GR lost control, oversteered, hit Max, damaged his car severely and nearly pushed him to the wall. All reprehensible and nothing to be proud of. Can’t make a right out of two wrongs.

    2. Hi Sir Verstappen fan :)

    3. Always disliked George, but once upon a time this teeny little incident would barely have garnered much coverage. It’s just a microcosm of the entire way F1 is going: safety cars and RFs for everything, running in the wet only when the track will be dry enough for slicks in 5-10 laps, pretending F1 didn’t successfully run in dense spray for until 2019, bumps like this being mentioned in lap and then forgotten, etc. Maybe they shouldn’t play the radio of the drivers whining in the heat of the moment to avoid these sort of absurd fan and media reactions.

    4. Also, do you think GR really volunteered this comment out of the blue? A journo obviously asked “will you change your driving style due to the incident and/or MV’s comments?” So, he obviously hasn’t been wasting much time concentrating on the issue.

  3. George didn’t do anything that Max hasn’t done, or wouldn’t do, in the same circumstances.

    Max being Max he got angry and had to let off steam afterwards, but that is it.
    It’s over.
    It’s racing.

    and trying to turn it into some kind of Nationalistic dispute is frankly pathetic.

  4. One thing I don’t get is why he called him Princess George… was Max acting like an entitled princess. George couldn’t have cared less.

    1. Ju88sy (@)
      5th May 2023, 13:25

      It was apparently the nickname that ART (George’s F2 Team that he won the title with) gave to him (source; lunchtime browsing of the official F2 site).

  5. Ahah, I liked that “terrible” relationship joke!

  6. The strong opinions on this are hilarious

  7. Y’all really need to stop trying to make this a thing, come on.

  8. In the interest of “the show” George should have channeled K Mag with a response while the cameras were rolling. Then of course, Liberty would have done everything they could to make sure they line up side by side in Miami.

  9. Funny how he thinks understeering into another car and causing damage to help him get past is ‘getting a move done’.

    1. +1

    2. Funny how he thinks understeering into another car and causing damage to help him get past is ‘getting a move done’.

      I think you will find the contact didn’t occur in the corner, it occurred during one of Max’s little left-right-left bully tactic moves.
      Obviously, George shouldn’t have been there to be bullied.

      1. Not sure what you were watching, or dreaming about.
        Here’s the analysis of George plowing his front wheel into Max’s sidepod.

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