Sky Sports F1 Commentator Martin Brundle has claimed that Max Verstappen should “stay home” if he can’t handle tight racing with his rivals.
Verstappen and George Russell came together on the opening lap of the Azerbaijan Sprint race after the Mercedes driver sought to pull off an overtake on the Red Bull driver.
Russell succeeded in passing the Dutchman but the pair made contact, causing damage to Verstappen’s sidepod and hampering his efforts to fight for victory.
Verstappen would secure a podium spot but would find himself in P3 in the Sprint behind Charles Leclerc and his teammate Sergio Perez.
Clearly frustrated by the situation, Verstappen had a heated exchange with Russell after the pair got out their cars, with the Dutchman calling him a “d*******” as the Brit walked away.
Brundle ‘disappointed’ with Max Verstappen
“It’s first lap stuff on a very tight track. I think George should have told him to fly away to be honest. I think we’ve seen Max fight really hard like that, Max was on the outside,” Brundle said.
“As a Verstappen fan, I was a little bit disappointed how he handled that really to be frank. Part of that he suggested George was in a slower car so what’s the point in trying to overtake him anyway.
“But you can’t go racing like that, you might as well stay home. That’s not how Max goes racing and we love him for it.
“Verstappen refused to accept Russell’s apology and didn’t listen to the Mercedes star’s excuse that a lack of grip led to the shunt.”
Amid the angry interaction with Russell, Verstappen threatened the Brit to “expect the same” should the duo go wheel-to-wheel in a future race.
Russell and Verstappen’s stance
The Mercedes driver branded Verstappen’s outburst “pathetic” given the Dutchman’s history of close calls and crashes throughout his career, as he fought hard to secure his status on the grid.
“He’s had his fair share of giving moves like that and being tough and hard at racing and it’s a little bit poor to see how he sort of spat his dummy out when it was the first time he probably got something back in the same regard,” Russell said.
“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,” Verstappen said on reflection.