Russell: Bottas may not have made same F1 Imola move on another driver

George Russell has questioned Valtteri Bottas’s “dangerous” move in their Imola Formula 1 crash on Sunday, saying he would have acted differently “perhaps if it was another driver”.

Russell: Bottas may not have made same F1 Imola move on another driver

Russell and Bottas crashed out while battling for ninth place halfway through Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, colliding at high-speed on the approach to Turn 2.

Russell gained on Bottas using DRS and moved to the right-hand side of the track to try and overtake, only for Bottas to make a slight move to the right.

It caused Russell to lose control of his car and spear into Bottas’s Mercedes, leaving both cars out of the race and causing a red flag.

Both drivers were left fuming by the incident. Russell tapped Bottas’s helmet when he went to his cockpit to vent his anger, later saying that he asked the Finn “if he was trying to kill us both”. Bottas responded by showing his middle finger.

Bottas claimed after the incident that it was “clearly” Russell’s mistake and that he left enough room, but Russell felt Bottas had broken a gentleman’s agreement.

“We’ve had this gentleman’s agreement that when there’s a faster car approaching with the DRS, you don’t jolt the steering wheel at the very last moment,” Russell said.

George Russell, Williams

George Russell, Williams

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“I pulled out, I got the slipstream, I pulled out, and just as I pulled out, Valtteri moved very slightly, and that just put me off-line and put me onto the wet stuff.

“In perfectly dry conditions on a very ordinary circuit, it’s dangerous, let alone on a very narrow track when we are turning and there’s wet patches. So an unfortunate incident.

“But equally, it’s been inevitable, an incident like that would occur when drivers make small moves like this. It’s the smallest of moves, but when you’re going at 220 mph, and you’re going 30 mph quicker than the car ahead, it’s massive.”

Russell questioned why Bottas would make such an aggressive move when battling for ninth place, and pondered whether he would have acted differently with another driver.

Russell is a member of Mercedes’ junior programme, and has been tipped as a possible successor to Bottas at the team in the future.

“Obviously I was very pissed off and frustrated with him at the time,” Russell said.

“I’m fighting for P9, a P9 for him is absolutely nothing. Almost meaningless. He did a move that you would do if you were fighting for victory on the last lap of the race.

“It begs the question why he would do that for P9. Perhaps if it was another driver, he wouldn’t have. So that’s what went through my mind.

“Like I said, he’s not fully to blame, I don’t think I’m fully to blame. But it could have been avoided. I think this is a good example for the stewards, very minor movements like this will create crashes, and here we are.”

Russell said he had “no doubts” Bottas felt he was to blame for the incident, but said he was aware of the right etiquette when battling at high speed.

“I’m sure from his perspective, he feels it’s my fault, I’ve got no doubts about that,” Russell said.

“Equally, he knows the closing speeds of these cars, when you’re behind with slipstream and DRS. He knows that is not the correct thing to be doing.

“Like I said, if you’re fighting for victory on the last lap of the race, maybe. But not in conditions like this and not mid-race when he is P9, which is nothing.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Emilia Romagna GP: Verstappen wins thriller as Hamilton recovers to second
Previous article

F1 Emilia Romagna GP: Verstappen wins thriller as Hamilton recovers to second

Next article

Hamilton: Rushing to pass lapped F1 traffic triggered off in Emilia Romagna GP

Hamilton: Rushing to pass lapped F1 traffic triggered off in Emilia Romagna GP
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023