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Max Verstappen

Verstappen defends Russell after Las Vegas collision

The Red Bull driver was victim when George Russell clattered into him following a surprise overtaking move at Turn 12 - earning the Mercedes a five-second time penalty.

Verstappen Las Vegas
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Max Verstappen has defended George Russell, believing that the Mercedes driver simply didn't know where he was as they collided in the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

On Lap 25, Verstappen dived to the inside of Turn 12 - the left-hander leading onto the Strip - in a surprise move, with Russell turning in to take the normal racing line.

Both cars sustained minor damage, but were able to continue with Verstappen going onto win the race, his 18th of the year, while Russell finished fourth on the road.

However, the stewards deemed him to be at fault and issued a five-second time penalty that dropped him to eighth.

Russell was apologetic post-race, with Verstappen giving the Mercedes driver the benefit of the doubt.

Russell just didn't see me

"That's always a tricky one. I mean, he didn't do that on purpose," Verstappen explained of the collision to media including RacingNews365.

"I think he just didn't expect me to pass him into that corner. Because that's how it felt like, I put it on the inside and he just turned in like there was no one there.

"So I guess he just didn't see me."

The lead of the race changed hands five times, with most of the overtaking either coming at Turn 5 or onto the brakes at the end of the Strip and into Turn 14 with the aid of DRS.

This was one of the factors Verstappen pointed to when discussing what made the 50 laps such a good race.

"I think low degradation on the Hard tyres, a lot of slipstreaming with the long straights and probably a bit of a headwind on the straight as well," he said.

"In the low-speed corners, when you are following, you don't really lose that much time because they are that slow, and then there's a lot of draught around the track.

"After Turn 4 to Turn 5, from Turn 9 to Turn 12 and of course all the way from Turn 12 to Turn 14 and then again from Turn 16 to Turn 1, it is a draft-fest, so that made the racing much better."

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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