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Russell issues apology to Bottas

NEWS STORY
19/04/2021

George Russell has issued an apology to Valtteri Bottas following their high-speed clash at Imola on Sunday.

In the moments after the crash, the Briton asked the Finn if he had been trying to kill both of them, convinced that the Mercedes driver was at fault.

Though the stewards officially declared it a racing incident and therefore not warranting punishment, Russell's stance began to soften after watching numerous replays.

"When you can review everything and look at it in slow motion and everything, and from certain camera angles, it all looks very, very different," said the Briton.

"One camera angle makes it look one way, another camera angle, like I said, when you watch it from behind on the CCTV footage it looked quite clear, in a different opinion.

"I was more frustrated because of the speed of the incident," he admitted. "I've never, ever had a crash at the end of a straight when we're absolutely flat-out, and we've all seen the dangers of motorsport very recently and to be honest I would have reacted exactly the same had it been battling for the win, battling for ninth or battling for last. Because I just thought it was unnecessary and it was avoidable.

"Valtteri did nothing that was outside the rules," he added, "but you have to take an element of responsibility and consideration into the fact of the conditions. There's certain things you can do in certain ways when everything's stable, but when it's a damp track, there is a kink, and you're pushing someone towards the grass, onto the damp patches at over 200 miles an hour... there is a high risk of an incident, and that is why I was very disappointed because I just thought that was beyond a lack of respect, really, not towards me, but just a lack of respect towards these cars.

"Could it have been avoided? Yes," admitted the Williams driver. "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 that overtake? Absolutely not. You would have been foolish to lift at that position."

Tonight, having had twenty-four hours to think things over, Russell took to social media (where else?) to issue an apology to the Finn.

"Yesterday wasn't my proudest day," wrote the Briton. "I knew it would be one of our best opportunities to score points this season and, when those points matter as much as they do to us right now, sometimes you take risks. It didn't pay off and I have to take responsibility for that.

"Having had time to reflect on what happened afterwards, I know I should have handled the whole situation better. Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me.

"I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions. That's not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect more from me.

"I've learned some tough lessons this weekend and will come out of this a better driver and a better person for the experience.

"Now it's full focus on Portugal and a chance to show what I'm really about. Thanks for all the messages, both positive and negative. They will all help me to grow."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 22/04/2021 23:49

"@ SLR...your opinion is noted. Russell was 100% at fault, no ifs and no buts. Unfortunately the stewards are at odds with your opinion and obviously you definitely know better. Your powers of deductive reasoning are beyond reproach. IMO failure to take into account likely outcomes directly linked to any strategies employed show a lack of rational analysis. Lateral thinking is the hallmark of success across most disciplines. Coercive tactics should have no place in any sport, especially F1. The instructions to Force India in Monaco 2018 by Wolff to move Ocon out of the way of Hamilton is a perfect example."

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2. Posted by SexyLadyRacer, 22/04/2021 12:16

"Motor Racing is judged, whether now or in the history books, by The RESULTS, Not What IFs!

As shown at Imola, George Russell tried to go for glory for himself rather than good racing sense, as he always seems to do like a total rookie, but he failed, and he was then rightly blamed for it!

Another 'What If' decision that went totally wrong, as they usually tend to do, was Pierre Gasly gambling on starting the race on Full Wet tyres!

Both Russell and Gasly should deal with the racing conditions as they are on the track at the time, and not try and gamble on the 'What Ifs' mostly based on luck! "

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3. Posted by kenji, 21/04/2021 10:37

"When analysing this incident it's important to consider all the facts and the likely outcomes. What if...Russell had pulled it off? He would be again hailed as the 'heir apparent' and Bottas would have been seen to be not just a 'lame duck' but a 'dead duck' , metaphorically speaking. The actual ignominy of a Mercedes being outclassed by a Williams is, to many, unthinkable. That latter point was emphasised publically by Wolff. The best outcome was that as delivered by the stewards. A racing incident. The Mercedes/Hamilton/Bottas clique are ever so slowly coming apart. If this continues then we'll hopefully see the demise of their domination and some true competition for a change."

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4. Posted by SexyLadyRacer, 21/04/2021 6:54

"Oh George Russell, you were behind Bottas mate, there's a kink on this straight and you knew that, and you should have also known as a F1 racing driver that every driver will stay on the single dry racing line in these conditions, which means that Bottas will be moving to the right hand side and in your path before the left turn corner! You should have read the track properly mate!
Bottas was not going to stay on the wet left hand side for this tricky left hand corner or slow down just because you want to come through on the single dry line, was he?

You were wrong George Russell, but it seems that you are still flipflopping between accepting that and continuing to blame others!
At this rate, how will you ever learn and become a real championship contender in these long seasons ahead!
"

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5. Posted by transplanted Brit, 20/04/2021 19:28

"It takes a man to apologize, Which is something you don't see from Seb or Max, they just prefer to blame anyone else or the cars for their screw ups. Congrats to Russell for being an adult about this incident. "

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6. Posted by JR Martin, 20/04/2021 11:43

"You have bested both of Wolff's drivers. You apologize for one but receive applause from many."

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7. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 20/04/2021 1:15

"Well that's the end of that relationship, I think it's time for George to start talking to Zak"

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8. Posted by kenji, 19/04/2021 23:43

"Spoken by George Russell...words and script by T.Wolff @ Mercedes AMG F1.com"

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9. Posted by Superbird70, 19/04/2021 23:38

"Pretty much the only he can drive for is Mercedes or Aston Martin now. Why would anyone take the chance on a driver that bends so easily? I can just imagine a Mansell or either Hill apologising like this."

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10. Posted by flyinglap, 19/04/2021 18:45

"Toto Wolff says 'jump!' and his drivers have to reply 'how high?', or else. How sad. Not even with Gilles Villeneuve recklessly destroying cars race after race had Enzo Ferrari intimated his driver to apologize and much less to calm down. Once you castrate a race driver this way, what you get is a 'driver of race cars', which is a slightly different thing and not in a good way. The very same Bottas seems to be a prime example of the specimen, following years of 'Toto treatment', and it would be a pity if Russell starts feeling compelled to contemplate the 'global perspective' before making a move at 200 mph; midfield career quaranteed even with a winning car (see Bottas at Imola, 'saved' by the crash)."

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