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Verstappen critical of 'princess George': 'I'll be driving past in three laps anyway'

Max Verstappen has questioned George Russell's motives for an assertive overtake on the opening lap of the Azerbaijan Sprint, labelling the Briton 'princess George'.

Max Verstappen was bemused by George Russell's overtaking attempts on the opening lap of the Azerbaijan Formula 1 Sprint. The two drivers came to blows in Baku when the Mercedes driver made a firm overtake on the championship leader. After contact in Turn 2, Russell completed the move on the inside of Turn 3, with Verstappen tagging the barrier on the outside of the corner. Verstappen sustained damage, including a hole in the sidepod of his RB19 car, but continued to claim third place behind teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Explaining the damage, the Dutchman said he felt "vibrations" in the car after the contact. "It was obviously not ideal," Verstappen told Dutch media, including RacingNews365.nl . "I didn't know where the damage was until I got out, but while driving I already noticed that the car was jumping a lot. Vibrations and things like that, so of course that was not ideal."

Verstappen annoyed by 'Princess George'

Verstappen was asked if his post-race comments, including calling Russell a 'd***head' , were made in the heat of the moment. "Well, I meant it at that moment. Look, if he just says, 'That was not the intention, that hole [damage]', again that says something, but his reaction? 'Look at the onboards'? 'Cold tyres'? Yes, we all have cold tyres." "This is just a bit clumsy and with [Russell overtaking] also makes me wonder why? They really are a lot slower and the risk of both killing our race is greater. It doesn't really get you anywhere, even if you pass me." When responding to Russell's comments about being surprised by Verstappen's attempt to defend the position, the Red Bull driver replied: "[Defending] is not allowed because princess George is there? At the end of the day, that's his problem too!" Verstappen suggested that the performance difference between Red Bull and Mercedes meant Russell's robust defence was unnecessary: "Things can also go wrong very quickly. There is no chance, I am driving past him easily within three laps anyway, so yes, this does not make much sense. "Everyone has their own opinion and vision in the story, but I think I just gave him space and then he should also just take that corner normally." "If you bump into each other with the wheels sometimes, that can happen. That's not ideal either, but if you drive a hole into someone else, that's a bit more than just with the wheels against each other." When Verstappen is asked what he would do if the roles were reversed, he responds: "I have no idea what to do then, but he'll probably expect me to just brake and then say, 'Please, just pass!', but that's definitely not going to happen."

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