Red Bull’s Verstappen was furious about finishing only third in the Baku sprint race – a format he already despises – with sidepod damage caused by the Russell clash.
“Russell was smart to leave his helmet on,” said Dr Helmut Marko.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz sensed that the incident between Verstappen and Russell was “personal”, especially as the Dutchman remained furious some time later.
“No, I’m not furious,” the 25-year-old told De Telegraaf newspaper. “It’s just a shame.”
Verstappen admits the way Russell handled the confrontation in parc ferme certainly irritated him.
“He explains it all nicely, like all the Brits do,” he said.
Russell insisted he did nothing wrong, and that as world championship leader Verstappen should have been more careful about taking a risk by remaining on the outside.
“Oh, defending on the outside is not allowed because Princess George is there?” Verstappen hit back.
Ultimately, Verstappen’s mood was not helped by the defeat not only to pole sitter Charles Leclerc in second place, but also his very own Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez who won the 17-lap sprint.
Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur, however, is not getting carried away about the Maranello based team having apparently caught up with Red Bull.
“Even though we were faster than Red Bull in the qualifying sessions, they are still ahead of us,” the Frenchman told Sky Italia.
“When Perez opened his DRS, it looked like a rocket.”