April 29, 2021 | News | No Comments
George Russell laid the blame of the massive crash that halted the Emilia Romagna GP on Valtteri Bottas, insisting the Mercedes driver broke a gentleman’s agreement regarding defense moves.
Russell and Bottas clashed halfway through Sunday’s race at Imola, colliding at high speed as they barreled down to Turn 2.
The Williams driver had the benefit of DRS as caught and initiated a pass on the Finn, slipping down the outside but putting a rear wheel on the wet grass as Bottas drifted slightly to the right.
After losing traction, the Williams spun into the side of the Mercedes, with both cars slamming into the wall and shredding debris as they came to halt in the run-off area.
Both men were fuming over the radio as the race was red flagged, with Russell rushing over to his rival to give him a piece of his mind, a complaint to which Bottas responded by giving the Briton on middle finger.
“I was coming on Valtteri massively fast, I had the slipstream, I had the DRS,” explained Russell.
“And just as I pulled out he jolted very very slightly to the right which is a tactical defense that drivers in the past used to do – a sort of Verstappen move of 2015.
“There is a gentleman’s agreement that that is not what you do because it’s incredibly dangerous.
“In completely dry conditions I would have been fine but it just put me on to the wet patch and I lost it, so an unfortunate incident but at 200 mph you need to respect the speed and the conditions.”
Read also: Verstappen dominates in Imola, Hamilton scrambles to second
Aske what he had told Bottas in the aftermath of their clash, Russell said: “I asked him if he was trying to kill us both’
“You know, we’re going incredibly fast, we know the conditions. In his eyes he’s obviously not fighting for anything – a P9 for him is nothing, but for us it’s everything. The move would have been absolutely easy, there is no reason to jolt like that.
“Like I said, it’s a gentleman’s agreement between the drivers because we’ve always said, it’s going to cause a massive collision one day, and here we are.”
Thanks for all the messages. I’m fine, just disappointed. At the end of the day, it’s an unfortunate incident. You’re entitled to defend your position. But at 330kph, you have to respect the speed and the conditions when doing so. Gutted for the team. They deserved more today.
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 18, 2021
It’s no secret that Russell is in line to replace Bottas next year at Mercedes, and the Briton suggested rather maliciously that the Finn would have perhaps not attempted the defensive move on another driver.
“I’m fighting for P9, a P9 for him is absolutely nothing,” he said. “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.”
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