F1 News: George Russell describes Verstappen Baku reaction as “pathetic”

Jaden Diaz

With the Miami GP weekend about to commence, George Russell has outlined his perspective on Max Verstappen’s reaction to their Sprint race incident on the streets of Baku last weekend.

The British driver was criticised by his Dutch rival for making a series of ambitious moves on the first lap, leveraging the inside line to overtake and force Verstappen off.

Aside from Russell gaining a position, one of the consequences of this battle was small contact between the two drivers – resulting in a significant hole in Verstappen’s sidepod.

Although this clearly cost the reigning Champion some performance, he was able to bring the car home and limit the damage by finishing in the top three.

The Championship leader made his feelings on the incident clear post-Sprint, dismissing Russell’s explanation that he lacked grip in the first lap.

Speaking ahead of this week’s Miami GP, Russell was candid about his perspective on Verstappen’s reaction to the battle:

“I mean, it was all a little bit pathetic. Something you learn as a kid is if you give something, you have to be willing to take it as well.

“He’s had his fair share of giving moves like that and being tough and hard at racing,” he told Sky F1.

“It is a little bit poor to see how he sort of spat his dummy out when it was probably the first time he got something in the same regard.

“From my side, there’s nothing really to say. I thought it was good racing, exciting racing…

“We’re both drivers. We’ve both been in the sport a long time now and have plenty of experience – we’ll have a chat. Everything is fine.”

Such incidents are relatively typical throughout an F1 season, so there is nothing especially unique about the nature of the Russell-Verstappen entanglement.

However, Max Verstappen’s decision to confront the Briton (captured by the live broadcast) has added a new element to what was the highest-profile incident from Baku.

The otherwise uneventful nature of last weekend’s F1 action in Azerbaijan likely magnified the focus and discussion on this skirmish.

With that said, the contact is relatively insignificant when looking at Verstappen and Russell’s broader objectives for 2023.

The Red Bull driver will be focused on maximising the performance of his RB19 and building his lead in the standings to Sergio Perez – who likely represents his only real challenge.

George Russell, meanwhile, will be working with Mercedes to steer the W14 in the correct direction for long-term development.