Max Verstappen called George Russell a d***head’ in an angry exchange after the pair collided during the sprint race in Azerbaijan.
They came together while fighting ferociously through the first three corners, leaving Verstappen with a hole a foot wide in his sidepod. The Dutchman spent the rest of the afternoon in a major strop despite reclaiming the third place from Russell in a race won by Sergio Perez.
After climbing out of his car, Verstappen confronted Russell, who finished fourth.
Russell said: ‘I didn’t do it on purpose, mate. I had no grip. I just locked up.’
Verstappen: ‘Mate, we all have no grip. We all need to leave a little bit of space.’
Max Verstappen and George Russell had a bust-up following the Azerbaijan GP Sprint race
Verstappen told the British driver to ‘expect next time the same’ after being cut-up on the track
Russell: ‘Watch the onboard.’
Verstappen: ‘Yeah, sure. Well, expect next time the same. Dickhead.’
It was an overreaction by Verstappen. ‘Salty, poor loser,’ said Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion. Clearly not in the best of moods altogether, Verstappen also criticised the new sprint format launched here in Baku, calling for it to be scrapped.
At the risk of playing the armchair psychiatrist, it seems his disgruntlement at the rejigged schedule may have put him in a hair-trigger mood. Moreover, the extra sprint shootout earlier in the day, which determined the grid for Saturday’s 17-lap sprint, had entailed the unpalatable fact of his team-mate Perez qualifying a place ahead of him.
Then, to top it off, he was under pressure from a very quick-starting Russell and having to scrap hard in a sprint he did not even wish to be contesting. One sensed he’d fight like mad as those first few corners unfolded, elbows out and sharpened, his emotions super-charged.
The pair touched at the second bend and Verstappen nudged the wall moments later with little room remaining on his right. He was incandescent, issuing a number of radio grievances as the Englishman wrestled his way past. ‘I don’t see how he can drive into my car and keep his position,’ screamed the Red Bull star. ‘It’s ridiculous.’
Verstappen campaigned for the incident to be investigated. It wasn’t, the stewards calling that right in my view.
The champion was helped to re-pass Russell after some other early drama courtesy of Yuki Tsunoda pranging his AlphaTauri into the wall at the end of the opening lap. The Japanese driver’s wheel became detached and started rolling down the middle of the road.
Verstappen and Russell were in close combat during the opening two turns of the 17-lap race
The Dutch two-time world champion finished third, behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (left) and team-mate Sergio Perez (centre)
Surely a red flag would be waved, but, no: instead first yellows and then a virtual safety car and finally a safety car. Four laps were wasted.
AlphaTauri mechanics optimistically tried to patch the stricken car back together. They half-succeeded and sent their man out again but the newly attached tyre was at a jaunty angle and the car drifted around for one forlorn lap as if skating sideways.
After the restart, Verstappen made his decisive move on Russell, en route to finishing behind pole-man Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, who in turn was 4.4 seconds back from Perez at the end. ‘Without contact as well,’ purred Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase of the move. ‘I know how to do that,’ replied the Dutchman acidly. The radio then broadcast a series of bleeps. The air was blue.
Later Verstappen, alluding to his previous skirmishes with Hamilton over the years, added: ‘I did leave him enough room. He got through the corner without hitting the inside barrier, but apparently it is hard not to hit a Red Bull car for them.’
To which Russell countered: ‘I’m here to fight, I’m here to win. I’m not just going to wave him by because he is Max Verstappen in a Red Bull. There’s not a lot more to say.
‘When he came over to me I thought he was coming to say “good battle, nice fight”. I was very surprised at how angry he was.
‘From my side, his position was already lost. Ever since eight years old in go-karts, if you are on the inside at the apex of a corner then it’s your corner. If a driver is trying to resist a position on the outside they are taking a huge risk.
‘On lap one, on a street circuit, I was really quite shocked that he was trying to hold the position.’
AlphaTauri mechanics optimistically attempted to patch Yuki Tsunoda’s car together after he returned to the pit
This contention was put to Verstappen, who responded: ‘Oh, defending on the outside is not allowed, because Princess George is there?’
Lewis Hamilton finished a disappointing seventh, a place down from where he started. He made a poor restart once the Tsunoda-caused safety car withdrew, but declared the new format enjoyable afterwards.
Perez’s win, achieved by having passed Leclerc on the eighth lap, reduces his deficit to leader Verstappen in the championship table from 15 to 13 points going into today’s 51-lap grand prix.
Verstappen starts it from second, sharing the front row with Leclerc. Russell lines up 11th, which suggests a rematch must wait.
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Sports Event Casino Handicap Description
|PK||0||It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.|
|0-50||0/0.5||Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses 50%.|
|0 loss||0.5||Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses.|
|1+50||0.5/1||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 2 points.|
|1 level||1||Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the two teams will tie and win by 2 points.|
|1-50||1/1.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 2 points.|
|1 loss||1.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins by 2 points.|
|2+50||1.5/2||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 3 points.|
|2 flat||2||Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the two teams will tie and win all 3 points.|
|2 losses||2/2.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 3 points.|
|3+50||2.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 3 points.|
|3 losses||2.5/3||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50%, and all 4 points win.|
|3 levels||3||Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the two teams will tie and win all 4 points.|
|3-50||3/3.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.|
|3 losses||3.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 4 points.|
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Winning the Game: This is one of the most common sports betting variants where players bet on which team or athlete will win the game before it starts.
Handicap Market: This bet is based on point difference, and punters must predict whether the winner's point difference is greater or less than a preset point difference.
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Specific Event Markets: This type of betting usually involves specific events in the game, such as first score, player scoring, free throw percentage, etc., and the punter must predict whether the specific event will occur or be achieved.
Online betting: This type of play refers to betting while the game is in progress, and the punter can change the bet at any time and make a decision based on the real-time situation of the game.
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