Max Verstappen and George Russell’s collision on the first lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race left the Red Bull driver fuming – and the Mercedes driver baffled by his anger.
Was either driver in the wrong? Did the stewards need to issue a penalty? Have your say below.
The collision occured shortly after the start of the race. Verstappen lined up third, one place ahead of Russell. The Mercedes driver got off the line fractionally quicker than his rival and made a move down the inside of the first corner.
The pair ran side-by-side through that corner. At the next turn Russell, still on the inside line, made slight contact with Verstappen. The Mercedes driver’s front-right wheel made contact with the left-hand sidepod on the Red Bull, damaging the floor and leaving a hole in the bodywork.
From there they ran alongside each other on the long run towards turn three, where Russell finally claimed the place ahead of his rival. Later in the race, following a Safety Car restart, Verstappen reclaimed the position.
What they said
In the cars
“He tagged me,” Verstappen complained after the pair made contact. “I can also pass like that if I keep turning into the side.”
He was unimpressed when told he had floor damage after the collision. “Did he really drive into the side of me?” he asked. “I don’t understand how you can keep the position when he’s damaging my car. It’s bloody ridiculous.”
Russell said nothing about the contact.
After the crash
We definitely got through the corner without him hitting the inside barrier. So I think I did leave enough space, but I think apparently it’s hard to not hit a Red Bull car, I guess, for them.
I saw he had quite an impact with the wall. I think after turn three he ran a bit wide. But as I said – you’re on the outside, you’re taking the risk. And on a street circuit like this, lap one and with his pace, it’s totally unnecessary.
I’ve not actually watched the video back, so I don’t know what the views are from your side and from television, but from within the car, it was my corner. As I said, I’ve not reviewed it fully yet. If Max was on the inside and I was trying to hold the position, he would have done the same, if not worse. So that’s part of racing.
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The official verdict
The stewards did not investigate the incident.
Other drivers’ views
Sainz: I just think it’s super tricky to judge these cars, dirty…
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