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Max Verstappen mocks Fernando Alonso at Japanese Grand Prix despite Red Bull links

Verstappen’s joke links back to an incident on the final lap of the Australian GP two weeks ago, in which Alonso was accused of brake-testing the Mercedes driver, sending him spinning into the barrier on the exit of turn six.

The crash left Russell sideways in the middle of the track and screaming for a red flag in terror. After visiting the stewards, Alonso was hit with a 20-second post-race time penalty.

Discussing the incident ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, Russell said: “Yeah we actually saw each other back home. Just coincidentally bumped into each other at a coffee shop.”

Verstappen, who was sitting alongside the Mercedes driver in the press conference, then chimed in: “Did you brake test him there or not?” before chuckling.

Russell also found Verstappen’s jab amusing but continued: “No, as I said before, it’s nothing personal. When the helmet is on, we’re all fighters and competing.

“When the helmet is off, you have respect for one another, so of course [there were] a lot of emotions in the moment but we’ve both moved forward from it.”

Russell was then asked whether or not he and Alonso discussed the incident during their coffee shop meet-up. “No we didn’t,” he replied. “He didn’t get my coffee though, which was the least that could have happened, but no, it’s history now.”

Verstappen’s playful dig at Alonso comes amid rumours linking the Spaniard with a drive for the Red Bull team in 2025. Both the two-time world champion and Sergio Perez are out of contract come the end of the season.

With neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Yuki Tsunoda making a serious claim for the seat alongside Verstappen, Alonso is ‘pushing very hard’ to join the reigning champions in the twilight of his career, according to The Race.

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