Russell: No air to be cleared after Verstappen clash
By Mat Coch
Friday 5th May, 2023 - 7:39am
Mercedes driver George Russell doesn’t believe he needs to speak with Max Verstappen following their post-race encounter in Azerbaijan.
Russell approached Verstappen in parc ferme following Saturday’s F1 Sprint in Baku to apologise after the pair made contact on the opening lap.
It left the Red Bull with a damaged sidepod as the Englishman admitted he struggled for grip at Turn 2 and slid wide.
Verstappen was in no mood to hear it, suggesting all drivers lacked grip at that point and Russell should have been driving within himself.
“From my side, there’s no air to be cleared,” Russell said of the encounter.
“I’ll welcome and say hello to him if he passes by; 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 views to him are still the same; I still respect him, I still think he’s a great driver. Obviously, things are always said in the heat of the moment.”
Following their Turn 2 clash, Russell moved by Verstappen at Turn 3 to temporarily claim third.
The Dutchman recovered the place on Lap 5 following a Virtual Safety Car, using DRS to blast by on the approach to Turn 1.
He went on to hold the spot to the flag behind team-mate and F1 Sprint winner Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Russell, meanwhile stayed fourth and has resolved not to change his approach when racing the championship leader.
“A lot has been said about that coming together but from my side, it was pretty straightforward,” the Mercedes driver said.
“[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. We’re all here to fight; that’s what F1’s about.”
For his part, Verstappen also sees no issues now the dust has settled.
Asked about his relationship with Russell, the 25-year-old joked, “Terrible – that’s what people maybe like to hear,” before clarifying that “it’s absolutely fine.”
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