Russell: “There’s no air to be cleared” with Verstappen after Baku incident

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The two clashed on the opening lap of Saturday’s Sprint in Azerbaijan while fighting for position.

In the end Verstappen managed to finish third, but his RB19 sustained sidepod damage as a result of the contact. He made his frustration clear as he confronted Russell in parc fermé after the race. Although Russell offered an apology, telling Verstappen he “had no grip,” the Dutchman was unimpressed with Russell’s explanation, and responded by calling the Mercedes driver a “d***head,” warning him that he should “expect next time the same.”

Speaking to the media in Miami, Russell insisted they have put last week’s incident behind them.

“I mean from my side there’s no air to be cleared,” he said. “I’ll welcome and say hello to him if he passes by and I’m sure we’ll shake hands when we bump into each other.”

“For me it’s history now, and it’s behind us, so my views to him are still the same; I still respect him and think he’s a great driver. Obviously things are said in the heat of the moment but yeah, we move on.”

Russell added that he doesn’t intend to change his approach when racing Verstappen in the future: “I mean, a lot’s been said about that coming together but from my side it’s pretty straightforward: Went for a move, got the move done and obviously he was pretty upset about it.

“But, you know, that’s racing and these things happen. We’re all here to fight, and that’s what F1’s about.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Similarly, Verstappen confirmed in Thursday’s press conference that in his mind there’s no bad blood between him and Russell, and even joked about their relationship.

“Terrible! Of course not, no. That’s what people might like to hear, but no, it is absolutely fine.”