Will Buxton calls out Max Verstappen: George Russell criticism ‘a bit rich’

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen speaks after qualifying. Baku April 2023.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen speaks to reporters after qualifying ends. Azerbaijan April 2023.

F1 presenter Will Buxton believes Max Verstappen criticising George Russell’s robust approach to combat in the Baku sprint was a “a bit rich” coming from him.

While it was Sergio Perez who claimed the sprint victory on the Saturday in Baku, arguably the main talking point to come from that 17-lap race was the fallout from a shunt between Perez’s Red Bull team-mate Verstappen and Russell on the opening lap.

Russell’s attempt to pass Verstappen at Turn 2 would result in a collision between the pair, one which both cars seemingly had escaped from unscathed, before Russell then completed the move on an already frustrated Verstappen at Turn 3, which only served to anger Verstappen more as he felt Russell had run him out of road.

As it turned out, Verstappen had not emerged from that Russell hit without damage, footage showing a gaping hole in the left sidepod of Verstappen’s RB19.

And after finishing the sprint in P3, Verstappen proceeded to confront Russell and vent his frustrations over the incident, signing off by calling him a “d**khead”.

Verstappen later branded him “Princess George” when Russell had expressed his surprise that Verstappen went so defensive against him in their battle out on the track.

And for Verstappen to be taking issue with Russell’s abrasive approach to wheel-to-wheel racing, is in Buxton’s opinion, a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

“It’s a bit rich isn’t it, Max Verstappen saying a driver is taking some unnecessary risks,” said Buxton on F1TV.

“Max has made a career out of putting in gutsy moves, getting his elbows out, getting down and dirty, running wheel-to-wheel with people.”

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So, where Buxton feels the frustration comes from is that while Verstappen is more than happy taking the fight to other drivers in that manner, he is not willing to be on the receiving end.

“He has fought drivers hard his entire career, but he doesn’t like being raced hard himself, particularly not when he’s fighting for a Championship,” Buxton suggested. “I think that really showed today.”

Verstappen saw his Drivers’ Championship lead over team-mate Sergio Perez cut to six points when the Mexican racer claimed Azerbaijan GP victory, Verstappen crossing the line P2 to make it three Red Bull one-twos out of four grands prix so far in F1 2023.