Max Verstappen finished third. The two-time world champion was able to overtake Britain’s George Russell after the restart of the race, which was necessary after Yuki Tsunoda lost a wheel.
The Dutchman had lost third place on the first lap to his Mercedes rival, who overtook hard through the inside corner. Verstappen had to swerve so far out that he damaged his car. There was a complete hole in the side of the Red Bull.
Verstappen reacted angrily over the on-board radio. “This is absurd,” he shouted. “He doesn’t give me any space and now I’m damaged.” However, the race management did not intervene and let Russell’s act go unpunished.
Because of the puncture in his car, Verstappen was no longer able to reach top speed and seriously attack Leclerc’s second place. The Dutchman immediately approached Russell after the race for a story. “Why take so much risk and not give way? We’re all on cold tires and no grip,” he exasperated.
Russell clearly didn’t feel like arguing and quickly walked away. He later declared that he had every right to overtake on the inside and that Verstappen himself took the risk of staying by his side. “It was clearly not my intention to hurt him.”
The Dutch world champion was later calmer in front of the Formula 1 camera. “I just don’t understand why he takes so much risk in the first round and doesn’t leave some space. But it is what it is. I managed to score some important points.”
Nyck de Vries drove a very decent race, moving up from 18th to 14th in AlphaTauri. This position did not earn him any World Cup points.
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