Ricciardo: Nothing Wrong With Russell Challenging Mercedes’ Bottas at Imola

Published 05/07/2021, 8:15 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 29, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


The incident between Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell in Imola has been a topic of much debate. While the drivers have put the past behind them, the incident drew several reactions from drivers and fans. McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo was one of many who offered their two cents on the incident at Imola.

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Daniel Ricciardo thinks Russell was right to try the overtake in Imola

Russell’s ambitious move cost him and Bottas in Imola. Irrespective of that, Ricciardo believes that Russell was right to do what he did.

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Ricciardo said, “I don’t know exactly what the situation was between Bottas and Russell, but if Russell felt he could actually overtake him, why not? Ultimately, if you’re faster, you should be able to try something,” said Ricciardo.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 18, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell in action during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Ayrton Senna once said, “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, then you are no longer a racing driver.” Russell saw a gap in Imola and went for it. However, F1 is more of a team sport rather than an individual sport today.

This has brought team orders and competitiveness of teams that have engines supplied by their rivals into question. Mercedes supplies engines to Williams and while Williams aren’t as competitive as Mercedes, Russell could have overtaken Bottas in Imola, which is a rare sight.

Ricciardo recalls being ‘free to race’ in his Toro Rosso days

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Toro Rosso were not in the same league as Red Bull. Despite that, Ricciardo always felt he was free to race rivals from these two teams. He recalls the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012, where he was defending 9th place from Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing walk during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 6, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Ricciardo said, “In situations like that, we were allowed to really race with each other, without thinking too long about who we were fighting with. Of course, you always have to find a balance in that, but I think that Red Bull has as much as possible acted.

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With the Spanish Grand Prix coming up, we will know more about where the teams stand this season. Can Ricciardo find his way back to the podium to offer his team an oppportunity to shine?

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Sanket Nair

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