Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez hit back at F1 media for trying to over-dramatize the first-lap battle between them. The first-lap battle at the 2023 F1 Austrian GP saw Verstappen being pushed to the grass by the Mexican, only for the former to proceed to out-brake Perez into turn 2.
Verstappen was not happy with Perez pushing him to the grass and made sure that he had a chat with his teammate after the race. Perez claimed that he did not see the 25-year-old in the spray and that led to him pushing the Dutch driver to the grass. What was, however, interesting was the post-sprint press conference, where both Red Bull drivers were served with a barrage of questions on the same topic.
After repeating the same answer again and again, Max Verstappen finally countered Edd Straw from The Race when yet another question was posed along the same lines.
"For Max and Checo, on a similar topic. Obviously, the result’s great today but are you absolutely 100% that everything that happened in those battles was just purely circumstantial – or is there something to learn for the future – because obviously, there were other cars around that could take advantage of that situation? Fine today, on another day, it might have compromised the result."
Both Verstappen and Perez stated that there was no big story to be made out of the incident. The duo answered:
"MV: It might have. But it didn’t. And yeah… we don’t need to make this a big story, you know? It’s what happens sometimes. We talk about it, we clear it, and that’s fine. That’s how human beings work sometimes. You question, you answer, solve it, done. Don’t need to write a whole article about it. I hope. Or maybe you can – to get the clicks! If you want.
SP: The race was too boring so this might be the story!
MV: ‘Opinion’, you know. And then get people to answer."
What did Max Verstappen say about the incident
Max Verstappen was quick to bury the hatchet in the press conference as he claimed that the two Red Bull drivers had the opportunity to talk things out and discuss what had happened. On being asked if he thought Sergio Perez overstepped a line, Verstappen said:
"It’s not about that. I think, you know, we just spoke about it. Because when the moment happens, of course, you don't know why it gets to that. But then after the race, we talked about it and it's all good."
The two drivers might not see much of each other in the race though, as Max Verstappen starts the race on pole position while Perez will be outside of the top 10.