Toto Wolff suggests Max Verstappen has a problem with Lewis Hamilton

George Russell collided with Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the 2023 Azerbaijan GP sprint race.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff doesn’t think reigning World Champion Max Verstappen races Mercedes differently; however, the Austrian does think he approaches battles with Lewis Hamilton in a different manner.

It was put to Wolff whether Verstappen changes his tactics when he’s battling with a Mercedes driver, following George Russell’s collision with the Red Bull driver on the opening lap of Saturday’s sprint race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Russell locked-up on the inside of Verstappen at Turn 2 and under-steered into the side of his fellow 25-year-old, ripping a hole in the Dutchman’s left sidepod.

The incident also damaged Verstappen’s floor, much to his anger.

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Russell interestingly moved ahead of the championship leader following the questionable move, although, Verstappen regained the place a few laps later.

Despite having gotten third place back, Verstappen remained absolutely furious with Russell.

The Red Bull driver waited for Russell in parc ferme after the sprint to vent his frustration at the Mercedes driver, who he went on to call a “di*khead” on live TV.

Verstappen also referred to Russell as “Princess George” to the media, simply to further emphasis his annoyance at the accident.

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Wolff didn’t have much of an issue with the collision and actually thought it was just two young “fierce” drivers, with the Austrian believing that it’s not the first time in their career that they’ve collided.

With that in mind, Wolff rejected any idea that Verstappen battles the Germans differently, with the team boss believing that can only be said for when the double World Champion fights Hamilton.

“No, I think Max races Lewis differently. But between the same generation drivers, they are all fierce, but they know each other so well,” Wolff said in Baku, as reported by

“They had this situation probably the first time when they were 10.”

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When Verstappen and Hamilton battle it traditionally results in damage to either driver, with many having likened Russell’s move on Verstappen to the Dutchman’s move on the seven-time World Champion at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

At a wet Imola in 2021, Verstappen forced Hamilton off the circuit at the opening corner, something which saw the 103-time race winner bounce over some incredibly high kerbs, causing floor damage.

The Dutchman on that occasion arguably didn’t leave sufficient room, something he believes he did when Russell was trying to get ahead of him on Saturday.