George Russell reflects on Max Verstappen’s ‘d***head’ insult after Baku clash

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen and George Russell clash. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull and George Russell, Mercedes, clash after a sprint crash.

George Russell has brushed off Max Verstappen’s “d***head” insult thrown his way after the pair collided in the sprint in Azerbaijan in April.

The two made contact as Russell overtook the Red Bull driver at that race, which cost him what Verstappen believed to be a second per lap of outright pace.

This prompted a furious reaction at the time from the Dutchman, who accosted Russell in parc fermé after the sprint took place – and Russell has now looked back at what happened as time has passed.

What did Max Verstappen say to George Russell in Baku?

Verstappen managed to get back past Russell during the sprint and finished third in that shortened dash in Baku, but that did not stop him from airing his frustration at the Briton after the chequered flag.

“I had no grip, I was locking up” Russell told Verstappen after the Red Bull driver approached him.

Verstappen then replied: “We all have no grip, we all need to leave a little bit of space.”

“Yeah, well what do you want me to do?” Russell said as he walked away from the Dutchman.

“Then expect next time the same!” Verstappen shouted back at Russell, finally signing off by calling him a “d***head”.

George Russell dismisses Max Verstappen insult as ‘heat of the moment’

When reminded of that moment and asked about it with the benefit of hindsight, Russell explained that no-one on the grid is purposefully trying to take someone else out.

And regarding Verstappen’s anger, he explained that people can get caught up in the heat of what is happening at that time.

“I think it began with a ‘D’, and I think it ended in a ‘D’ as well!” Russell said with a laugh when reminded of Verstappen’s wording on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“Yeah, you know, it’s racing. We’re all in the heat of the moment. It’s a physical sport, even though it’s sometimes not perceived that way.

“The cognitive stress, you’re under your own personal pressures and pressures from the outside, we all want to do the best job possible and we all respect that.

“So none of us are purposefully going out there to crash or purposely take somebody else off.”

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Racing alongside several long-time friends on the grid in Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Alex Albon, Russell said that if ever he were to collide into one of them or another of his contemporaries, including Verstappen, he does not feel they would have to apologise to him in such a situation, given the way they go about racing each other.

“Oh, no, not at all. There’s never an apology needed, I think,” Russell said.

“I’m trying to think of an occasion where we’ve collided on track together, but I don’t think there’s ever really been one.

“But it doesn’t matter what’s been said, I think in those moments within an hour after the race or during the race, if you’ve come together, and you’re on the sidelines together, it doesn’t matter what said, it’s sort of water under the bridge and you move on.

“You know, you might not be best pals for the next couple of races, but we’re all mature enough to recognise it’s just racing.”

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