Not James: Verstappen’s Move on Bottas Sees Red Bull Get Chirpy on Social Media

Published 09/29/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 20, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Yves Herman


Despite facing similar reasons to start from the back of the grid, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas had differing fortunes in the Russian Grand Prix. While the former charged to the podium, the latter finished fifth as he benefitted from the misfortune of a few drivers.

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Although Sochi is in the past, its memories remain fresh in the minds of many. Among them features Verstappen’s move on Bottas on Lap 6, on which Red Bull shared a cheeky tweet earlier today.

Red Bull get cheeky on social media after the Russian Grand Prix

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In the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month, Bottas served an engine penalty for fitting his fourth power unit. And in Sochi this past Sunday, the Silver Arrows changed a few parts in his engine, which saw him start from P16 because of another penalty.

Verstappen also took an engine penalty in Sochi since Red Bull fitted his car with its fourth power unit this season. This meant he started Sunday’s race on P20, four places behind Bottas. Many believed Mercedes made this move as part of their strategy to hold up the Dutchman, which would aid Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

However, on the sixth lap of the race, the Dutchman passed the 32-year-old at Turn 13 in a relatively simple move. This drew reactions from fans across the world and also saw Red Bull engage in a little banter.

Earlier today, the Austrian outfit put out a tweet in which they wrote“Valtteri, it’s Max!” This referenced Bottas’ earlier years with the Silver Arrows, during which he accepted team orders on certain occasions.

Ironically, his worst instance of obeying team orders came on this track three years ago. Despite leading the 2018 Russian Grand Prix by a significant margin, he gave way to Hamilton after technical director James Allison asked him to.

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Can Max Verstappen bounce back in Istanbul?

While he picked up 18 precious points, Verstappen saw the championship lead change hands after the Russian GP. However, heading to Istanbul for the Turkish GP, he trails Hamilton by just two points.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 25, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is seen ahead of qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

If anyone needed an indicator of Red Bull and Verstappen’s potential this season, Sochi made a big statement. And with seven races to go, this title fight looks set to go down to the wire.

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WATCH STORY: Top 5 wins of Max Verstappen’s F1 Career

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Sanket Nair

770 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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