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Max Verstappen vs George Russell: Who Was at Fault?

Written by Benjamin Crundwell, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

image credits - Sky Sports F1

Only 2 corners into the new sprint race format, the headlines had already written themselves. Not for the first time, a Red Bull and a Mercedes came together.

Mercedes driver George Russell got the better start, and got on the inside of Max Verstappen into turn one. The pair stayed side by side on the run down to turn two, Verstappen barely half a car length in front. Although Verstappen left Russell a car's width on the inside, the Brit locked his left front tyre, sliding into Verstappen. This contact punctured a hole about a foot wide in the Red Bull’s sidepod, which would later cost Max a potential second place. Angry at Russell, Verstappen came onto the radio to say, “F***ing report it!”, but the FIA paid no attention.

Christian Horner described the situation as “hard racing”, but went on to describe the moment at the following left-hander of turn three as “over the top”, when Verstappen had to touch the wall to avoid a late braking move by Russell. Horner’s was a surprising take, considering the incident at turn three had a much smaller effect on his team's result. For me, Max had a right to be angry at the contact at turn 2, it gave him a more difficult car to drive, and effectively ruined his chance at a win. However it was unnecessary to tell Russell to “expect the same next time, d*ckhead.” during a confrontation which included the Mercedes driver arguing that he “had no grip” into the corner.

Image credits - Sky Sports F1

The dispute only added fuel to the fiery arguments between the fans of Red Bull and Mercedes. Yet, it is fair to say that the incident was purely two drivers not wanting to back out, and there was certainly no evil intent from George Russell. Max Verstappen got the last laugh as he overtook Russell for the final podium position at the safety car restart. Can we expect either driver to fall into more controversy tomorrow, or have they both learnt enough from their antics today? The answer to this question will only be known tomorrow.

1 comment

1 Comment

Apr 30, 2023

It was almost entirely 100% George's fault... and good on him. His comment about not trying a move, or being less than aggressive is well judged. If you don't go for the move unless its a done deal, signed and sealed then goodness knows racing would be so boring and not worth watching or taking part in.

The years old comment about the throttle pedal working both ways is completely made for this situation, Max could so easily have 'cleverly' yielded the place and as soon as DRS was enabled, zap - he would have been past George in an instant and with the long straights, DRS and slipstream he would have made back any time loss following the Mercedes…

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