Max Verstappen issues key advice to ‘upset’ George Russell after Canada GP win slips away

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull and George Russell, Mercedes, talk to media at the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull and George Russell, Mercedes.

Claiming that Mercedes had the “fastest car”, Max Verstappen said he spoke to an “upset” George Russell after the Canadian Grand Prix to reassure him after making what he saw as costly mistakes.

Russell and Verstappen sensationally set identical pole position times in Canada, the P1 grid spot going to Russell by virtue of him setting his 1:12.000 lap first, with the pair then part of a thrilling victory battle in the wet-dry Canadian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen spoke to ‘upset’ George Russell after Canada race

Russell led in the early stages of the Canadian GP, but a collection of errors contributed to his finishing position of P3, while Verstappen claimed the win.

Under pressure from Lando Norris, Russell out-braked himself as Norris came through into the lead, followed by Verstappen, while later in the race, his overtake on Norris was undone after clonking the kerb as Norris re-passed, while a Russell attack on Norris’ McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri resulted in contact.

Verstappen could sense that Russell was “a bit upset”, understandably so as Verstappen felt the Mercedes W15 challenger was the quickest out there, but told him “these things can happen” and is sure that it will prove a valuable learning experience for Russell.

Asked by Sky F1 if it was a three-way fight for the Canada win between he, Russell and Norris, Verstappen replied: “Oh for sure.

“I think overall when you look, I think Mercedes had the fastest car, so of course I would also be disappointed.

“But it’s so easy to make a mistake. I literally told George already before, because he was a bit upset with himself probably and I said, ‘Mate, these things can happen, we’re all pushing to the limit, sometimes it works out for you, sometimes yeah, you make one mistake too much and it can catch you out’.

“But that’s racing as well. I’m sure he will learn and look back at it as well and he will learn from it. We’re all very young still, you learn a lot in your career.

“And at the same time, I think with Lando for sure the Safety Car didn’t help him, because I think they were flying on the intermediates. They could have created a big gap. But that’s racing.”

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The re-emergence of Mercedes at the very front of pack added a further exciting dynamic to the F1 2024 campaign, with McLaren and Ferrari having been the first to step up and challenge the previously dominant Red Bull team.

And Verstappen believes this multi-team battle is a major positive for Formula 1.

“I think it’s just very good for Formula 1 that you have a lot of different teams fighting for the win,” he said. “It makes it really exciting up front.”

But, asked whether he enjoys F1 more in this competitive state, Verstappen said he wouldn’t mind “more comfort” when driving his Red Bull RB20, which has struggled to ride the kerbs in recent rounds.

“It is very enjoyable, even though I would like a bit more comfort in the car,” he said, “because it’s definitely very tricky to drive at the moment.”

With Ferrari failing to score points in Canada, Verstappen extended his Drivers’ Championship lead over Charles Leclerc to 56 points, while Red Bull are now 49 points clear of Ferrari at the top of the Constructors’ standings.

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