Formula 1 pundit Martin Brundle has admitted to being “a little bit disappointed” by Max Verstappen’s angry reaction to his clash with George Russell in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race.
Verstappen and Russell made contact at Turn 2 on the opening lap of the sprint race in Baku, leaving a gaping hole in the Red Bull driver’s sidepod.
After overtaking Russell to finish third, Verstappen confronted the Mercedes driver in parc ferme at the end of the race and was heard calling his fellow competitor a “d**khead” in a heated exchange.
Russell later admitted to being surprised by Verstappen’s behaviour, insisting he would “not hold back just because he’s leading the Championship.”
The British driver remained entrenched in his view ahead of this weekend’s Miami GP, referring to Verstappen’s conduct as “a little bit pathetic.
“He’s had his fair share of giving moves like that and being tough and hard at racing and it’s a little bit poor to see how he sort of spat his dummy out when it was the first time he probably got something back in the same regard,” Russell said.
Verstappen established a reputation for his aggression on track in the early years of his career, with the Dutchman embroiled in a series of controversial incidents with Russell’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton during their titanic title battle in 2021.
And speaking in his capacity as a Sky Sports F1 pundit ahead of the opening practice session in Miami, Brundle – who made 158 grand prix starts between 1984 and 1996 – feels Verstappen was out of order in Baku.
He said: “It’s first lap stuff on a very tight track.
“I think George should have told him to fly away, to be honest.
“Because I think we’ve seen Max fight really hard like that, Max was on the outside and as a Verstappen fan I was a little bit disappointed how he handled that really, to be frank.
“And then, [as] part of that, he suggested that George was in a slower car so what’s the point in trying to overtake him in any event?
“You can’t go racing like that. You might as well stay home.
“That’s not how Max goes racing and we love him for it.”
Brundle also stressed the importance of judging such confrontations through the eyes of the drivers in question, with Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez charging to victory in the Baku sprint as he nursed his car to P3.
“But we also have to remember that at the end of the race, the adrenaline is high,” Brundle continued.
“Max was fed up. Sergio just won the race. He’s finished third. He’s got a hole in his sidepod and he’s pretty unhappy.
“So you need to take the emotion and the adrenaline out of that one a bit.”