The Dutchman got off to a bad start and had to defend himself against a Russell attack from the inside into the first corner. When it looked like the Briton would emerge victorious from this clash, he didn’t let Verstappen through the next two 90-degree corners, taking huge risks.
Although the fight looked tight but clean, at some point there was contact between the two cars.
Max Verstappen was furious while radioing his engineer, and when he managed to regain his position at the first corner on the restart, he didn’t fail to mention that he “knew how to do it”, an apparent reference to the close combat over the first lap.
After the race, the Dutchman ran into Russell, very upset. The Mercedes driver made it clear to him that he had no control over it [na zimnych oponach]Dutch replied, “Dude, we all don’t have a grip. We have to give ourselves some space.”
Russell replied, “I know, I know…” and walked away.
When he did, Verstappen delivered his technique: “Next time, expect the same… stupid!”
The Briton, when asked by the media about this situation, was very surprised by Verstappen’s attitude. He admitted that at first he thought that he would give him five times in a spectacular duel, and not with pretensions.
Russell rightly pointed out that as Red Bull’s world champion, he must have been aware of the huge risks he was taking in racing outside a corner. The Mercedes driver also admitted he was surprised that the Dutchman continued to defend his position aggressively in the following corners, rather than letting go a bit and attacking in a more suitable place.
Max Verstappen has also criticized Russell’s behavior in later interviews, also referring to his duel with Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
“I just don’t understand why you’re taking such a big risk on the first lap,” he said. “He drove into a side volt, and he punched a puncture in it. We all have cold tires and it’s easy to lock up the wheels.”
“He had a nice explanation for it: Dude, you know, I’ve got the wheels locked up, look at the dash cam footage. It makes no sense to me.”
“But it’s okay, we still have P3 and we’ve scored good points.”
When asked during a press conference if he left enough space for his opponent, he replied: “I think so. We managed to take the corner without it hitting the inside barrier, so I think I left enough room for him, but it looks like they [Mercedesowi] It’s hard not to get hit by a Red Bull.”
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