“I think Max races Lewis differently” to Russell and everyone else on the grid, says Wolff

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An utterly forgettable sprint race for the most part in Baku has been livened up afterwards following a lap one tangle between Max Verstappen and George Russell.

The Mercedes driver made contact with the Dutchman at turn 2, resulting in substantial sidepod damage for the two-time World Champion.

Although he ultimately got back ahead, Verstappen was livid after the race when he spoke about it with Russell, labelling the British driver a d***head.

Speaking in his post-sprint media session, Wolff was asked about his thoughts on the situation that unfolded.

“First of all, friendly exchanges between drivers is a good entertainment factor,” he said.

“That’s a race situation that is, you know, you’re trying the outside — that’s never going to be an easy position.

“They collided, he had a big hole in the car and that’s certainly suboptimal for your race.

“It’s absolutely understandable that he’s upset. On the other side. George defended the position, and that’s also clear that they’re going to do that.

“So I guess it’s not the first time they had this situation between each other.”

A number of collisions between Verstappen and Hamilton in 2021 and how the season unfolded in general has led to continued needle between Mercedes and Red Bull since then.

Wolff believes Verstappen treats Hamilton differently to Russell and every other driver on the grid when they go wheel-to-wheel.


Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“But between the same generation drivers, they’re all fierce. They know each other so well.

“That’s why I said they had this situation probably the first time when they were 10. So, yeah, it’s racing.

“I don’t know if it’s 70-30 fold, 60-40 or 50-50, but it’s going to be in that ballpark.”

On Verstappen’s radio messages and general comments, Wolff understands the frustration a driver feels in the heat of the moment.

“They’re all upset when they lose,” he said. “If you have your team mate winning and you finish third and you haven’t got performance in the car because you have a big hole, absolutely you’re upset.

“Each of them vents that differently. As long as you’re authentic, that’s good. Max is quite outspoken.

“He probably forgets about it one hour later. That’s okay.”

Verstappen and Russell went at it through turns 1, 2 and 3 on the opening lap. The contact at turn 2 gave Russell the inside on the run down to turn 3 and he took P3.

Wolff have his thoughts on the battles and incident.

“If I’m George, I’m doing exactly the same. If I’m Max, I’m upset,” the Austrian stated.

“I think he [Russell] defended well. I think it’s dangerous to overtake them at the outside because you could either end up in the run-off or you can end up in the wall, or you can have somebody on the inside that is weak and gives you all the space in the world.

“But on the inside, it’s quite an angle you need to achieve. If you try to turn around there tightly, you’re going to lose out on the next straight.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool