George Russell & Valtteri Bottas crash: Williams F1 racer opens up on Imola incident


George Russell has reflected further on his incident with Valtteri Bottas at Imola last time out in Formula 1, with him admitting he has learned a lot about his reaction after the 200mph crash.

Russell and Bottas are providing one of the sub-plots to this season as they potentially battle for one of the Mercedes seats in 2022 and the Briton is obviously eager to show Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff that he should be driving one of those cars.

Indeed, that could come at the expense of Bottas and the story delivered an early dramatic twist at Imola as the two came together on the start/finish straight in what was an almighty shunt.

What really got people talking, though, was Russell's reaction as he quickly headed over to Bottas and remonstrated with the Finn before whacking him on the crash helmet, whilst Valtteri flashed him a single digit in response.

Indeed, it was a reaction that stemmed from huge frustration at championship points being lost for his Williams team and fuelled with adrenaline after a big impact but Russell admits now he wishes he had perhaps gone about things differently before and after the incident.

“There’s a lot of things I’ve taken away from it," Russell opened up to Channel 4 ahead of this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix.


“I think firstly, as a racing driver, one of the rules is that you should never crash with a team-mate.

“For me personally, obviously Valtteri is in a different car but I’m a Mercedes-backed driver, I’m in this position because of Mercedes, and Lewis and Valtteri are team-mates to me of sorts. I think that’s one thing that didn’t go through my mind in the heat of the moment.

“Secondly, as the stewards deemed it, it was a racing incident, it was unfortunate, but I was just disappointed in myself with how I reacted afterwards. I felt like that wasn’t me.


“I went against my own instincts to walk away from the incident because I wanted to show a bit of emotion. To be honest, my emotions were incredibly high having just crashed at 200mph. So many things ran through my mind.

“It isn’t going to change my racing approach when I’m racing against competitors. If I see an opportunity, if I see a gap, I’m going to go for it.

“But definitely I’ve learned I need to handle things differently afterwards. I really need to take the full picture in before giving a rash judgement to the situation, which is what I did and hence why I felt it was important to put an apology out there for the people I felt like I let down with those actions after the race.”


Russell has certainly taken a fair bit of flak from several quarters since the crash and more for his reaction than the actual move and coming together itself.

He has fronted up and admitted where he feels he has made mistakes, though, and that deserves some credit with everyone surely eager to move on now as we head into round three.

Bottas, of course, will want to be further up the field this weekend after a tough time at Imola and so he and Russell may not cross paths on track but, if they do, it'll be fascinating just to see what plays out.

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