Russell: Actions after Imola Bottas crash "very poor judgement"

Williams driver George Russell has called his actions in remonstrating with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas immediately after their crash in the 2021 Imola Formula 1 race “very poor judgement”.

Russell: Actions after Imola Bottas crash "very poor judgement"

Russell climbed from his wrecked FW43B and ran to accost Bottas while the Finn was still sat in his own badly damaged car after the pair had crashed battling over ninth place last time out in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

It was a crash that was judged a racing incident by the Imola stewards, after Russell’s right-side wheels had hit a damp patch of track leading up the Tamburello chicane.

In the pre-event press conference for this weekend’s Portuguese GP at Portimao, Russell was asked how he now reflected on the incident – after he initially gave fiery assessments regarding the event to the media at Imola and then issued a statement apologising to Bottas the day after the race.

Mercedes junior Russell said: “Having had a week, even just an evening [immediately after the race], to let the emotions calm down and reflect on everything, I think the incident is one thing – it’s part of racing and these things do happen.

“I think the actions I did afterwards were not my true self.

PLUS: Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

“I sort of went against my instincts to walk away and almost show a bit of emotion, which was probably a very poor judgement call in the heat of the moment.

“[And that] led on to a few more things later that afternoon. That’s why I felt like it was necessary for me to put [the statement] out on Monday morning to apologise for my actions.

“Because I do want to lead by example and I do want to be a role model and those actions after the incident were not ‘leading by example’.”

Marshals clear the damaged car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, from the gravel trap

Marshals clear the damaged car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, from the gravel trap

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

When asked if he had been spoken to by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, Russell replied: “Yeah, of course – Toto and I have spoken extensively since the incident.

“The contents of that will remain private, but he’s been very supportive, very constructive.

“Our relationship has not been damaged at all following the incident – if anything, quite the opposite. And likewise with everyone at Williams.”

Russell also highlighted his promising pace and position in the Imola race before the crash with Bottas, saying Williams should be “proud of the progress” it has made to have been “fighting for points on merit”.

“[Williams has] been incredibly supportive,” Russell said of his current team, which had also lost Nicholas Latifi in an opening lap crash at Imola on a weekend where it had showed very good pace in practice and qualifying compared to its ‘Class C’ rivals.

“They want me to attack, go for opportunities and we’re proud to have been in that position.

“We were in 10th position fighting for points on merit. We’d been there at points last year, but through fortunate opportunities – of other cars retiring.

“But we were truly there on merit, going for an overtake.”

shares
comments

Related video

McLaren calls for secret ballots on F1 rule changes

Previous article

McLaren calls for secret ballots on F1 rule changes

Next article

Hamilton: Social media platforms must do more to fight racism

Hamilton: Social media platforms must do more to fight racism
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Portuguese GP
Drivers George Russell
Teams Williams
Author Alex Kalinauckas
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021