Bottas Scuffle After Imola Crash a ‘Brush’ Not a ‘Slap’: George Russell

Published 04/20/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Williams’ George Russell in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Words were flying in all directions from both George Russell and Valtteri Bottas after their huge crash at the midway point of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Russell was the one who appeared to be the most livid between the two. His reaction after the incident was to go up to Bottas and strike him on his helmet. But now that the dust has slightly settled, Russell made a point to clarify his actions.

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The Williams driver claims that his act wasn’t as vile as it seemed. In fact, he didn’t claim it to be a ‘slap’ but more of a ‘brush’ that occurred due to his frustrations at the time.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Williams’ George Russell in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS.

George said, “Slap is a very strong word. It was nothing more than a brush. I doubt he even felt it. “It was more of a ‘what are you doing?’ I’m sure maybe a footballer would have reacted in a very different way but there was nothing menacing there, almost as if you’re throwing your arms in the air.”

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Soon after the incident, when tempers were at an all-time high, Russell blamed Bottas for causing the crash. But now, with time to reflect, Russell admits that the Finn doesn’t deserve all the blame.

George Russell chalks down Imola collision with Bottas as a racing incident

The Briton sides with the Stewards and admits the scenario that panned out was something that just happens in racing. While he doesn’t totally blame himself for it, he absolves Bottas of the majority blame.

Formula One F1. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell in action during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

He said, “It was unfortunate, the incident would not have happened if it wasn’t damp and the DRS was closed. So it was just an unfortunate set of circumstances which could have been avoided.

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“Was Valtteri in the wrong? Probably not. Could he have done something slightly more? Maybe. Was I in the wrong? I caused the crash by spinning, but was I wrong to go for the overtake? Absolutely not.”

While Russell is eager to leave the crash in the past and apologize to Valtteri, it does set the backdrop for what could be an interesting storyline.

The duo are competing for the very same Mercedes seat for next year. The expectations for the two drivers are very different, but will this play a part in the Silver Arrows’ future decision? Russell doesn’t think so, but in the sport of F1 anything can happen.

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George Russell: Bottas Incident “Not Going to Harm My Relationship With Mercedes”

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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