Verstappen is ‘less aggressive than he’s ever been’ according to Russell

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Max Verstappen is a unique driver in many ways. The two-time world champion managed to win his titles in 2021 and 2022. The first had an extremely controversial ending in Abu Dhabi.

2022 was a year in which Ferrari was the main competitor for the Austrian team, specifically it was Leclerc who was present in many fights against the Dutchman during the initial part of the season of it. Later it was a season where it seemed that the only driver who was up to being on the top of the podium was Verstappen. 2023 is very similar.

At the beginning of the year, it seemed that the two drivers of the energy drink team, Verstappen and Perez, were going to fight for the championship throughout the year.

However, the last two races, the Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix, they were disastrous for the Mexican. In Monaco he did not get a single point after a crash in qualifying, while in Barcelona he only managed a fourth place after not having pace all day Saturday, leaving him behind for Sunday’s race.

When Verstappen was in his first years with Red Bull, we are talking about the 2017 or 2018 seasons, the Dutchman was known for being an extremely aggressive driver. We can even remember the way he defended his third position during the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix against Sebastian Vettel. The Dutchman was impatient and many times it worked against him, as he ended up making contact with other cars and even ended up getting penalised.

During races, the adrenaline is very high and many times it can result in a fight of words between the drivers. During a interview with George Russell, the British driver commented on his impressions of the type of fights between the drivers.

“I think we all know each other pretty well. We know other’s driving styles, we know the risks one another take.” Russell affirmed. “I first raced against Max, Charles and Esteban [Ocon] actually, in 2011.”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

“I actually raced against those guys before I ever raced against Alex [Albon] or Lando [Norris], which is a bit interesting considering the nationality differences.

“We know each other and probably that does contribute towards how we race one another.

“When you’re battling for a championship, you fight slightly differently and equally now Max is probably less aggressive than he’s ever been in the past because he’s in not in a position that he needs to be aggressive.

“And he can lose a position and know that he’ll get it back later down the line.”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

As we already mentioned, the RB19 is a car that is simply superior to any other single-seater that is competing within the highest category of motorsport this year. It is a car that is simply made for the Dutch driver.

The Dutchman can extract every millisecond available from the circuit and from the car. We managed to observe unimaginable laps of circuits in which it is extremely difficult to achieve a lap time like the ones achieved by the two-time world champion. A clear example of this was the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session.

When asking the Mercedes driver if there were drivers he would not trust or simply be more careful when fighting with them for a position, Russell gave an intriguing answer.

“There’s a trust between most of the drivers. I don’t think [three unnamed racers] have the spatial awareness of others. So, actually you prefer fighting hard against the great drivers because you know that they’re going to be able to control their car better and place it in hard positions but not dangerous positions comparing with somebody who maybe isn’t at the same level as the best.”