Furious Russell asked Bottas if he was ‘trying to kill us both’ after huge Imola crash

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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A furious George Russell asked Valtteri Bottas if he was trying to kill them both following their high-speed collision in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

But the Mercedes driver rejected Russell’s criticism of his driving, insisting the collision was “completely his fault”.

The pair collided on the approach to Tamburello, the fastest point on the circuit, causing a huge crash which put both out of the race and caused it to be red-flagged. Both drivers walked away from the collision.

Russell accused Bottas of violating a so-called gentlemen’s agreement between the drivers not to make sudden moves while being overtaken.

“I was coming up on Valtteri massively fast,” Russell explained. “I had the slipstream, I had the DRS and just as I pulled out he jolted very slightly to the right.

“Which is a tactical defence that drivers in the past used to do. There was a Verstappen manouevre in 2015 which there is a gentlemen’s agreement that that is not what you do, because it’s incredibly dangerous.

“In completely dry conditions I would have been fine but he just put me onto the wet patch and I lost it. So an unfortunate incident but we’re going at 200 miles an hour, you need to respect the speed and the conditions. One of those things.”

Russell was seen confronting Bottas immediately after the crash. “I asked him if he was trying to kill us both,” he said. “We’re going incredibly fast. We know the conditions.

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“In his eyes he’s not really fighting for anything. A P9 for him is nothing but for us it’s everything. I’m going for the move. The move would have been absolutely easy. There’s absolutely no reason to jolt like that.

“There’s a gentlemen’s agreement between the drivers. We’ve always said it’s going to cause a massive collision one day and here we are.”

Russell was Bottas’ team mate for a single race last year and has been linked to his seat at Mercedes. He suggested Bottas would have behaved differently had another driver been trying to overtake him.

“We’re both grown men. We’ll have a conversation and talk about it obviously let the heat die down a bit. I’m sure he’s upset and frustrated with me as I am with him. The faintest of movements when you’re travelling at 200 miles an hour is actually quite a massive thing.

“More so it’s not just the speed, it’s the speed difference. I was probably going 30 miles an hour quicker than him and about to overtake him and perhaps if it was another driver he wouldn’t have done that.”

However Bottas insisted he bore no responsibility for the violent collision, insisting that he left the required space for the Williams at all times.

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“It was quite a big one,” said Bottas. “It was quite high speed, but obviously could’ve been a lot worse. I’m okay.

“I think that lap, or just before the DRS was activated for people, I was still struggling with the warm-up of the dry tyres. George got close and he obviously went for an overtake in a place where there’s pretty much only one dry line.

“I’ve seen the replay and there was definitely space for two cars at all times, so I don’t know what he was going on about after – he was trying to say something but it was completely his fault. So quite disappointing.”

After a miserable weekend plagued by tyre warm-up problems, Bottas says he isn’t sure if he would have been able to make progress during the second half of the race had the pair not collided.

“It was very disappointing. It was a struggle, even until the crash. But obviously no one knows what could’ve still been possible. We need to take learnings from this week and move on.”

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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110 comments on “Furious Russell asked Bottas if he was ‘trying to kill us both’ after huge Imola crash”

  1. The extended DRS zone caused this.

    1. DRS has been cleared of any involvement.

    2. To me , it was Singapore 2008 redux . Botas just pulled a Piquet move to help MB stay on top of the points . Bottas had nothing to loose but everything to gain by pleasing Toto . Since both Bottas and Russell are in MB payroll they true motives will never be known

  2. The whole thing’s a bad look for Russell. Overreacted in the car, overreacted out of the car. I suspect he might be in line for a tellling-off from Wolff.

    1. Toto Wolff about George Russell on Sky F1: “If you do a good job you’ll be in a Mercedes, if not the Renault Clio Cup. Today it was closer to the Renault Clio Cup.”

      1. Which sadly no longer exists :(

    2. @tflb He redeemed himself by getting Ham bqck to p2.

      1. Here is a conspiracy theory:
        HAM wrecks and is far back on the grid and will be lucky to get a handful of points.
        BOT, who is already out of the race has nothing to gain, mysteriously collides with RUS which brings out a red flag.
        The flag enables HAM to regroup and claw his way back to second.
        I think this sort of thing has happened before – Singapore comes to mind.
        Nothing would surprise me where Wolff is involved.

    3. Oh no, a telling off from Wolff!
      Maybe Wolff should ask his other driver what he was doing P9 in the first place

      1. @paeschli Bottas being rubbish as usual doesn’t suddenly make it fine for Russell to crash into him, does it?

  3. Also, didn’t Russell say he had a ‘Maldonado moment’ yesterday? Well, he had another one today…

    1. Indeed what a clown. He should remember he crashed under safety car alone.

      1. He’ll redeem himself, don’t be a punk.

      2. iNdEeD wHaT a ClOwN. hE sHoUlD rEmEmBeR hE cRaShEd UnDeR sAfEtY cAr AlOnE.

      3. Say that word “clown” again and you’re dead to me.

      4. And then Williams won 9-0 against you

      5. iNdEED wHAt a CLOwN. He sHoUlD remEMber hE cRASHEd UnDer SafeTY car aLOnE.

        Say that word “clown” again and you’re dead to me.
        Killed you.

      6. Indeed I killed you. I killed you for insulting George all the time.


  4. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been lost on Bottas that he was just about to be overtaken by his rival for that 2022 Mercedes seat, and that too while he is in a Williams. Disregarding the incident, this weekend might just have put the final nail in the coffin for Bottas at Mercedes. At least I hope so. If Red Bull can be ahead of them in the WCC by the summer break, I think that would be the wake up call for Mercedes to finally replace Bottas.

    1. Toto isn’t thrilled with Russell after today’s incidents.

    2. @mashiat Totally agree, and if Perez didn’t slide into the gravel today Red Bull would’ve been ahead in the constructors. I feel a decision will come from Mercedes relatively early about their drivers for next season, and I’m praying Bottas isn’t still there.

    3. @mashiat Surely Wolff is wise enough not to gift a Mercedes seat to a driver who fails to keep his car on track on straight line and fumes about it afterwards.

      If anything this mistake by Russell only strengthens Bottas’ grasp on next year’s seat.

      1. How can even battling with a Williams in the first place strengthen his position?! Sure poor by Russell, but Bottas scrapping over the minor points is more of an embarrassment @huhhii

        1. @john-h After Imola is the 2nd most difficult place to overtake after Imola, especially in damp conditions where there was only one driveable line. Bottas failed in quali, yes, but only by less than 0.5 seconds. Not a massive difference. It was just a very tight qualifying session this time around.

          And after red flag track had time to dryt so Hamilton’s climb up to P2 was way easier because it was dry and the car’s superiority was clear to see.

          1. @huhhii Yes it’s more that Bottas’s gap to Hamilton is more costly this year in terms of positions that it would’ve been in previous years.
            However Bottas simply didn’t race well today, he was caught completely napping by Lance Stroll in traffic and it looks like his drive has gone. Bottas will need to up his game pretty considerably to keep the seat next season.

          2. Also, Hamilton only came through using DRS, which had not even been available in the wet.

          3. 0.5 seconds not a massive difference in F1 @huhhii ? Come on man, you’re better than that. I know you’ve been on this site for years like me!

      2. @huhhii Because Russell is the first person in history who went on a damp patch while overtaking and spun right? By that logic, Red Bull should have dropped Vettel in 2010 for Rubens Barichello. A slow driver, but hey, apparently it’s not about speed anymore. Over the course of a season, who’ll win more? Or score more points? Doesn’t matter if Russell crashes more than Bottas, he’s better. The fact he was even fighting with a Mercedes while driving a Williams speaks volumes.

        who fails to keep his car on track on straight line

        It was a kink with a damp patch driving a car that had little rear downforce with DRS open. If you think that’s the same thing as driving in a straight line, that says a lot about your logic.

        Bottas failed in quali, yes, but only by less than 0.5 seconds. Not a massive difference

        Since when is 0.5s over a short lap not a massive difference? Bottas was literally 0.65% off Hamilton. That’s a genuinely atrocious performance. Albon levels really.

        1. @mashiat @john-h

          Yeah Bottas’ showing in quali was similar to Albon but he isn’t consistently that slow, you know that but you both decide to ignore the fact because it’s fun to pick up on me.

          Meanwhile Russell does the Hulk thing and massively screwes up everytime there is a chance to score points. He can’t handle the pressure and there is a lot of proof for this. No one should be dropped by their first mistake, but this wasn’t first time Russell screws up. Kubica out-scored Russell in 2019 because Russell didn’t keep his car on track at Hockenheim.

          1. He handled the pressure of driving Mercedes pretty well last season. It wasn’t that long ago was it @huhhii?
            Maybe he should just drive at the back where that Williams belongs.

            you know that but you both decide to ignore the fact because it’s fun to pick up on me

            You’re the one that said 0.5 seconds wasn’t a massive difference! Nothing to do with picking on you, jeez what is this, back at school??!?

          2. @john-h On a track where no one had driven before, with clearly the fastest car?

            Also everyone seems to forget before Aitken’s crash and pit-stop mess that followed Bottas was catching Russell rapidly and would’ve won the race in most likelyhood.

            I’m happy it’s not you or @mashiat making the decisions as I’m sure Toto has more understanding. Bottas needs to deliver, but today’s kamikaze-driving won’t bode well for Russell, who still lacks in race pace compared to Bottas.

          3. Yeah Bottas’ showing in quali was similar to Albon but he isn’t consistently that slow, you know that but you both decide to ignore the fact because it’s fun to pick up on me.

            As @john-h mentions, you are the one who claimed this was a reasonable gap, which it isn’t. As for the Russell thing, it’s just being extremely selective. In Hockenheim, Kubica and Russell finished 12th and 13th on the road, so how can you blame Russell for choking under the pressure of getting points when there wasn’t any up for grabs anyways (who would have foreseen the disqualification of two cars?). Imola 2020 was a mistake on his part, but you can’t label a driver “good” or “bad” purely based on a few moments. You have to look at the whole picture. Russell already proved he was capable of beating Bottas in the exact same car, despite the fact that he had no prior seat time in the 2020 Mercedes. And calling the Bahrain “Outer” circuit a track no one had driven before isn’t entirely accurate. There was only 1 braking point in the entire circuit they haven’t race on (except 2010), and that’s it. 90% of the circuit was the exact same as what they drove the previous week.

          4. I’m happy it’s not you or @mashiat making the decisions as I’m sure Toto has more understanding

            Read through the comments @huhhii. No one is saying Bottas doesn’t deserve to keep his drive, but he was an embarrassment today having to battle with a Williams.

          5. @mashiat Russell was running in P9 or P10, can’t remember correctly when he lost it at Hockenheim’s T3, but he was in definitely in TOP-10 at a time, I’m sure of that. He choked it just like he did today and in Imola a year before.

            @john-h Like I said “Yeah Bottas’ showing in quali was similar to Albon” so yeah he had a dreadful Saturday and weak Sunday but still his race was eventually wrecked by Russell who just showed he still needs time to learn and isn’t anywhere near of Bottas’ level neither in quali pace especially nor in racecraft.

          6. @huhhii Russell’s mistake just cost him a few seconds and 1 place, which was to his teammate. He was not in the points at the time. Maybe you missed this during the race as well, but Russell was pushing for Williams to pit for slicks when Lance Stroll did (which got Stroll the race lead), but Williams told him to stay out for two laps longer, which is the main reason he wasn’t in the top 10, to begin with. And which driver hasn’t choked at some point in their career? You’re using a sample size of two, which isn’t representative at all. How many wins and podiums has Bottas choked? Or even just taking his Williams days. I seem to remember him choking when he had his chance for pole in both Austria and Russia in 2014. I remember him choking Q3 in Austin in 2013. I remember him choking Australia 2014 when his car was capable of finishing on the podium. Why is it any different when Russell does it?

  5. DRS, the track still not fully dry and the position of the driving line all contributed.

    Bottas left a car’s width, and I still haven’t seen him move right (other than staying on the racing line) but he did pull left pretty quick when he realised Russell was going for it.
    Racing incident. 100%.

    1. He “pulled left” as a result of the contact.
      He did not left enough space. Russell had two wheels on the grass and his wheels between those of Bottas.

      1. He didnt need to leave enough space because he was on the dry driving line. It does look like Bottas moves to the right but if you look at the line he is following its the normal dry line that moves to the right because the next turn is to the left.
        Russell as an F1 driver should take that into consideration before going for the overtake.
        Like with all Russells mistakes, he thinks he deserves the pass because he is faster without thinking of anything else.

      2. He was already moving left before Russell hit him

  6. Oh no no George. You’re about to throw it all away. This is not a good look on you at all. Buckle down, take the high road and go home. This is gonna jeopardise your career.

    1. Russel battling Bottas in a Williams is a very good look

      1. @paeschli Then accusing Bottas of trying to kill him and subtly indicating he would not do this to any other driver? Nah mate

        1. Wow! Russell has lost the plot.

  7. Chill the hell out George. All I heard was “bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep”. I haven’t seen something so controversial as Belgium 1998 and Brazil 2018. And regarding that helmet “slap”, people on Twitter reacted like they are still in Belgium 1998 and Brazil 2018. This is so much like impostor accusations, man.

  8. I get what Russell is saying and think he’s right in this case. Bottas could and should have let Russell past rather than squeezing him further right. Russell did nothing wrong. Bottas’s ‘gesture’ did nothing to secure his position and simply risked them both for no reason.

    1. @david-br why let him past? He left more than a car’s width. What happened was Russell lost control in a rather Maldonado-y fashion and crashed.

      1. @tflb On a wet circuit, though. Bottas knew what he was doing.

        1. @david-br oh it was wet, I see. That means that all defending drivers must just get out of the way and allow themselves to be passed in case the driver trying to pass them misjudges the track limits and crashes. Got it.

          1. @tflb Bottas can and did do whatever he wanted within the regulations. The end result we saw. My point was that he could have preserved both their races by not veering as far right as he purposely did.

        2. Russell should have known what he was doing.
          Bottas was just following the dry line. And being the car in front he has every right to.
          Just recheck footage, the line goes to the right because the next corner is to the left.

          Russell risked it all fully knowing that thats the line everyone takes and still went for it.

    2. @david-br agree totally, Bottas can be seen to move dramatically to his right from the Raikkonen on-board shot from behind. Far from staying ‘safe’ on the dry line he moved so his RH wheels were nudging the wet line, forcing George to move completely onto the wet where traction was too low.

      Bottas knew exactly what he was doing, rather like Rosberg/Hamilton in the 2016 Spanish GP, force your opponent onto the slippery bit of ground at a time where he is already committed, making an accident is nearly inevitable. Dangerous, as George pointed out.

  9. Racing incident. But yes Russell deserves that Bottas seat and he is getting impatient. Bottas was just stuck in that p8-p9 position for so long.

    1. @amg44 I thought it was particularly bad when Bottas was passed by Stroll in the traffic. Bottas looked like he was asleep.

    2. @amg44

      Agree completely. It was a racing incident. Russell had DRS and much more pace and went to the outside. Bottas was entitled to defend his position and steered right, leaving him enough space. However, due to the damp conditions there was still a damp patch on the edge of the circuit and Russell lost traction and crashed in to him. Bottas didn’t move especially late, as in dry conditions that would have been a perfectly legitimate defence. Russell couldn’t have done anything differently either as he was already on full throttle and committed to making a move.

      I thought George’s reaction was a little silly. I’m sure it was the adrenaline, but after such a heavy crash, you want to first make sure your opponent is safe before accusing him of anything. Can’t blame Toto for calling George out in this incident because of his reaction to something that was a a racing incident.

  10. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    18th April 2021, 17:02

    This incident just makes a mockery of DRS. At first view it looked as if Bottas was wandering around in the middle of a narrow circuit but of course he was flat out as was Russell albeit 30 mph faster. It’s ridiculous that DRS puts drivers in a position like that.

    1. @jackisthestig True, the speed differential was huge. It seems this year there was a headwind on the start/finish straight, which made DRS much more powerful. Last year, there was a tailwind, which resulted in almost no passes.

  11. Racing incident to me.

  12. I am curious why Verstappen’s career was never under threat after the incidents he was involved in. The guy had 8 incidents in the first six races in 2016 or 2017. And he’s still considered the best (having won 0 Formulae championships). Hamilton also crashed into Rosberg on multiple occasions.

    Russell will be fine, but he needs to be considerate and careful when overtaking in those wet/dry conditions, especially when he’s fighting against Bottas.

    1. It happened in 2018.

    2. Because not all of those incidents were his fault. But it was easy for some to point the finger at him at that moment so now its know as “lots of mistakes Verstappen made”

      1. Davethechicken
        18th April 2021, 22:48

        The stewards did not find Russell at fault today either.
        Racing incident,in my view.
        Bottas did drift right,but not unfairly, Rus moved onto the track edge by reflex.

  13. Racing incident for me. Russell had a massive overspeed so was obviously going for the pass, and the outside was the only option. Bottas was taking the racing line but that was edging him towards the outside. Russell reacts to Bottas thinking he’s going to get pushed off, and puts a wheel on the grass, and that’s it. I think back to Brundle always saying ‘You don’t need to just leave a car’s width. You need to leave a bit more than a car’s width to make sure the driver actually has space to go there.’ I think at that speed Bottas should’ve made it clear he was leaving the space, but if Russell was millimetre perfect he probably could’ve threaded the needle and made the pass cleanly. No penalty required for either driver in my opinion.

    1. At the speed Russell was approaching, Bottas would have no idea when their paths would intersect.
      It was a simple misunderstanding. Russell assumed Bottas was trying to block his path when in fact he was just taking the racing line.

  14. This crash was lucky for LH. He would have had to pit for a new front wing under racing conditions if it was not for this. GR saved MB’s bacon by taking out the struggling VB.

  15. Bottas didn’t push him onto the grass, Russell left too big of a pace between himself and Bottas.
    It’s a racing incident for me. If anything, it’s more Russell’s fault than Bottas’.

  16. Traduction of Russell words: “He raced me too hard”

    1. You should learn to read

  17. Bottas could and should have left some more space, as Russell was clearly faster. But at the end of the day, it’s a racing accident, although with dramatic consequences. Eerily in the same spot where Ayrton Senna died 17 years ago, so we also have to be grateful for the improved safety.

    1. …sorry, where Ayrton Senna died 27 years ago. Obviously not my big maths day today.

  18. I thought something Anthony Davidson said on Sky’s post show was interesting.

    Paraphrasing here but he pointed out that when you have that big of a speed advantage with DRS been as powerful as it was today & drivers know that if they keep there foot in it’s going to be an easy pass then they become far less likely to back out of it.

    He went on to say that it is asking a lot of the drivers to expect them to lift out of a move when they have such a huge speed advantage & the closing rate been so dramatically fast also gives them less time to spot & react to what the other driver is doing.

    It’s essentially the DRS created accident i’m amazed we haven’t seen until now as I think it’s the sort of accident the drivers of 2010 were raising concerns about when DRS was introduced.

    1. Nail on the head @roger-ayles. It’s always amazed me we haven’t really seen a Webber-like accident (or Berger Patrese) since DRS was introduced. This was nearly it, I actually shudder to think what would have happened had things gone a little bit differently… cars flying over the catch fencing at Tamburello doesn’t bear thinking about. Lucky escape today again.

  19. Russell talks up a big game and mixes it up with real grand prix winners but isn’t far removed from a maldonado but with far more cringe quotables.

    1. Were you not watching in Bahrain last year, or for the last few years generally?

      It’s too early to know how great he’ll be and he could end up a bit like a Hulkenberg who seemed similarly amazing early (I make the comparison because Russell does seem to have a slight tendency to throw it away when under pressure, so far, from small sample size). But he is unquestionably a generational talent. Bad as it may have looked I’m amazed at the amount of idiots on this site (not one in particular, looking at earlier comments) who are implying that like, it’s some long term assumed given that Russell is some mediocre unlikeable crash kid?

      He’s quite obviously a qualifying freak, generally rapidly quick and consistent. Great talent. Great kid.

      1. KG can’t take a chill pill.

  20. John (@barbsandwich)
    18th April 2021, 17:29

    This was a 50-50 incident. However, Russell’s behavior after the crash tells a lot about him. He has manipulated the situation against Bottas. He is playing the political game along with the blame game. He might yet make a good F1 driver. He sure seems to have the skills of one.

    1. He will fit right in at Mercedes

  21. I think this was a racing incident at the end of the day. Bottas definitely left enough of a space, and Russell did go for a gap that was there (I’m not trying to paraphrase Senna here, it’s just the easiest way of putting it). However, contrary to what the commentators were saying, I don’t think he lost it on the grass. Looking at the video F1 have put up on YouTube, it appears Russell lost it on the wet part of the track without touching the grass (this may be down to audio sync, but it appears to be correct to me).
    I personally don’t mind DRS, as in my opinion it does stop us getting 23 Sochi’s in year. I think the problem with this incident (not necessarily the race as a whole) is that DRS was enabled too early, when there was very much only one dry line.
    All in all, I’d say racing incident and no further action needed from the stewards (let Merc sort it out themselves, like after Spain in 2016). However, I think both George and Valterri did over-react a little bit. However, I think everyone else is kind of over-reacting as well. I’m pretty sure most people would be pretty angry in the heat of the moment after that kind of incident.

  22. Bahrain seems to have hurt Russell after all. As it happened.

  23. 100 percent George’s fault. Bottas made a very slight move to the right, possibly to take the corner, possibly to do whatever Georgie boy says Bottas was trying to do. Once George got to Bottas he did give him room but by th n George was spearing into Valtteris side. In the end Russell caused a massive crash and he should be embarrassed about it and also his reaction. I don’t know what p nalty the fia has in reserve for Russell but I can’t imagine it is going to be befitting of that bad move.

  24. Russell’s attitude isn’t the one you would expect from a top rated driver and the president of GPDA. He went to Bottas smoking car just to confront him, while he is definitely not blameless for this crash… Its the second time that Russell has shown a strange behaviour after a crash(first one Singapore 19).

    As for the crash itself, at that time there was only one dry racing line. Bottas tried to remain at the dry line but also left a car’s width, while Russell came fully committed,touched the white line/grass and crashed into Bottas.

    Lost some respect for Russell due to his attitude.

    1. So no shred of honor for Russell just like Verstappen? I’d better not say my answer…

  25. Pretty much what Schumacher asked from DC in Spa pit lane.

  26. Can’t help but feel the argument with Bottas and Russell did remind me of Schumacher v Coulthard at Spa ’98 a little

  27. I didn’t like Russel’s reaction at all, slapping Bottas while he was still in the car & pretty shaken by the incident.

    And if there’s one to blame there, is mainly Russel.
    At the end of the day, he threw away a crucial point finish for Williams

    1. Yeah I thought that was a pretty big deal. A physical confrontation immediately after a crash is completely unacceptable.

      Bottas had just taken a hard hit and Russell had no way to know his condition. Even if Botox was speaking and showing him the finger that doesn’t mean he was okay. And hitting the head or causing sudden movement in an injured driver is a problem. Plus there are electrical hazards to people approaching the car.

      He shouldn’t be anywhere near that car unless he’s rendering critical aid, like helping extract him from a burning car.

      It was such a light tap I don’t see a penalty. But I think some kind of fine or other off-track sanction is appropriate.

      1. Exactly what I thought when hearing Bottas’ shaken voice on the radio while seeing Russell giving no eff of the man condition.

    2. Completely agree. Russell has not covered himself in glory today. I do think it was maybe 80-20 rather than 100% on George, but his reaction afterwards was lamentable.

  28. This is so weird. I don’t necessarily disagree but I’m shocked to see everyone going so hard at Russell (but about the understandable shaken up angry post-crash reactions not the crash itself…which would be fairer coz it kinda was his fault yeah).

    Not to play politics, and not to assume anything of the people here (most commenters aren’t any of the few known troll nutjobs we all recognise and hey, seeing a community that clearly is nuanced and mature is awesome!) but it’s just weird coz most of the time I find this site’s community demographic conservative to a level of eye-rolling disappointing/infuriating cringe, while I sit here as a liberal person watching the tons of blatant racism against Hamilton and weird sexism anytime issues relating to women come up etc. I never thought I’d feel like the old grizzly ‘soft kids these days’ fool. :P But I do because I’m seeing constant bellyaching about some ‘awful attitude’ and ‘doing a reputation no favours’ etc over…absolutely nothing? That’s how these things go. People have a 50-50 crash, there’s disagreements and emotions etc. Happens all the time and was nothing on something like Verstappen pushing Ocon.

    One decent take I’ve seen was talking about he couldn’t really know Bottas’ condition and all that stuff, which I get in general. But like, he had talked to him and could clearly see and hear he was conscious and coherent and then he literally did a hand-wavey soft fingery brush-swipe-slap…on a man’s FIA Grade 1 helmet. If you hadn’t seen it, you’d think from some of the comments here that Russell violently assaulted Bottas or tried to start a Nascar fight.

    He basically did a kind of comical (because it so obviously doesn’t like, do anything) silly slap the way Michael Schumacher did to Takuma Sato after they crashed at La Source in Spa 2005. Remember that? Obviously it wasn’t the modern world with internet comments sections but I can’t imagine all such people were so up in arms about that then.

    I dunno I’m having a rant again. All good. No-one here is being inappropriate. I’m just disconcerted by the weird amount of aggression here about a man who has proven to be nothing but a wonderful generational talent on track and fun kind man off the track. Criticise BEHAVIOUR sure, not people. I agree he doesn’t look amazing today in some of his reactions. That tends to occur when emotions are high in these sporting contexts (let alone such potentially life-threatening ones). But the amount of absurd rhetoric talking about his ‘career in jeopardy’ and ‘throwing it all away’ and somehow implying this is indicative of some grand pattern or shows he has all along been some low end talent and low end dude is just…so bizarre, like its so cognitively dissonant to the point of making me half-wonder if there’s weird latent homophobia potentially involved. I doubt it but like…yikes. Storm in a teacup.

    No-one’s reputation is in tatters after today. The one man who is increasingly clearly on borrowed time is the increasingly mediocre Valtteri Bottas, who I don’t think has dropped off the face of the Earth suddenly or anything, but with Mercedes finally not having a clear advantage (over Red Bull, or as much over the chasing pack) it puts more cars between him and Lewis when he’s that consistent few tenths off like he often is. This will all pass. Russell needs to be in that car next year.

    Crash was totally Russell’s fault though. It’s like 60-40. It’s BASICALLY a racing incident. But Russell is the only one of the two who I think could have done anything different in hindsight to prevent it. Bottas is just taking the racing line. There’s nothing else he could have done different. Russell can’t be criticised for going for a gap but there was a car’s width, he misjudged it and got a bit too wide, and he lost control as can happen in the wet. Understandable error.

    1. Somehow strange that Russell didn’t get a penalty for it because that was pretty much his fault and the cause of quite a severe accident.
      I hope his strong reaction didn’t play a part in the stewarts decision because that would not be the right message. But I fear if he’d been apologising right away he probably wouldn’t have gotten the get out of jail card.
      The other questions is what on earth was Bottas doing back there lapped and defending against a Williams.
      Once again Bottas in wet conditions and/or traffic was a liability for Mercedes. Many drivers proved that passing was possible today, even without drs and even without the arguably (second?)best car.

    2. People are such snowflakes nowadays. From Russel’s POV someone squeezed him onto wet grass at 200 mph but somehow people expect him to be totally calm immediately afterwards with all that adrenalin pumping through his veins.

      1. I mean to be clear, the biggest snowflakes in the world (if we’re going to use that awful overused word) are conservative people, who lose their minds and scream bloody murder at the slightest suggestion any tiny thing about their privileged way of life is under threat in the name of making the world a better and safer place for disadvantaged people.

        But yeah. That’s what I was saying. It’s not that these are ‘young snowflakes’ being soft. I was surprised because I find this site generally the opposite, full of inappropriate older conservative snowflakes. That’s the juxtaposition I laid out and was surprised about. These are usually very ‘lol snowflake kids these days’ types yet here they’re being all ‘omg this was so offensive and violent and wrong!’ meanwhile I sit here, as a young, liberal, person, the one who would wrongly get called a snowflake or easily offended (for standing up for what matters) am like ‘…guys…this is sport? That’s literally how it goes?’

        Just bizarre yeah, you’re exactly right. That’s how adrenalin goes. You can always tell when a commenter is some 60 year old businessman who has never actually done or played anything athletic in their life so has no understanding of the stresses and adrenalin of the moment but thinks, like they do in every facet of their privileged life, that they have some right to sit there and go ‘lol that amazing hard-working professional athlete I could never dream of being sucks haha’.

        1. Full of anger huh?

  29. Also, something else that I didn’t realize earlier on.

    Russell obviously knew that there was one dry racing line around the circuit as less than a lap before,when lapped by Hamilton, he didn’t move out of the ideal line at Tosa. And we all saw what happened.

    By having that in mind,his decision making when trying to pass Bottas just a lap later, is really questionable….

  30. Ferrari 3-3 McLaren (1998): Coulthard fouls Schumacher, both get into a fist fight and both get sent off. Later, they reconcile in a press conference.
    Red Bull 3-1 Racing Point (2018): Ocon fouls Verstappen, Verstappen only shoves him, both get sent off. Later Verstappen was completely, completely done with everything.
    Mercedes 0-0 Williams (2021): Bottas fouls Russell and a big fist fight ensues between both of them, and everything goes totally out of control. Both the Mercedes and Williams manager had to intervene, Bottas and Russell get sent off, with Latifi also sent off too for being extremely angry at the referee.

  31. Nasty crash and glad both are OK.

    What stood out for me is that Bottas had already been lapped by his teammate at this stage.

    This is not where he should have been in that car.

  32. Nasty by Russell. He might have blown his 2022 Mercedes chance with this. Or any chance. Not wingman material to either Hamilton or Verstappen.

    1. Yes a wingman that’s being lapped by his teammate and fighting with a Williams is exactly what Mercedes needs! @balue

      1. @paeschli As you well know, Bottas is usually there or thereabouts, but then Wolff has made it clear several times that team dynamics is the most important thing. Now Russell’s had a falling out with Mercedes and shown he will fight (even physically) off track too for little or no points, so there’s no doubt what he’ll do if he’s in it for a title.

    2. Yep, aggressively awesomely going for an overtake, making a very tiny misjudgement that wouldn’t have been an issue if it wasn’t wet, lightly bapping someone on a literal FIA Grade 1 helmet with their fingers, blaming them for the crash in the media, all while in the throes of shock and adrenalin from such a moment, then immediately recognising they were wrong when viewing more footage.

      Sure sounds like a career-defining event that should jeopardise his chances of ever driving for the team who have employed him for five years, no matter all they know about his character and clear demonstrated talent.

      Jesus christ.

      1. @Hosford90 Sounds like you haven’t heard anything from the Mercedes team principal, or even chairman Lauda before that. He’s slamming Russell big time here which is an extreme thing to do when he’s their driver, and the last time his wingman driver touched the lead one (Spa 2014) both he and chairman Lauda were literally shaking with rage and threatened to kick them both. He has since talked about team dynamics and ‘values’ on many occasions and even said how great it was Bottas was ‘wingman’, so it’s not even reasonable to think he will just brush this off as if nothing happened.

        After Hamilton retires it will likely be Verstappen, and then they don’t need another pretender that will jeopardize their sacrosanct team dynamic and don’t understand team ‘values’, but another wingman, and that could just as well be a Vandoorne.

      2. “Green me say alone ramp”

  33. Mark in Florida
    18th April 2021, 22:07

    That was literally Bottas brake checking Russell. That little jink to the right as he was being passed was him trying to put George in his place. Didn’t work out so well we’ll for Bottas did it? George is the future and Bottas is a nothing but a wing man for Lewis. Sad when you see someone stoop to doing this.

    1. The way I see it, neither Bottas or Russell were mindful of the conditions when they were battling.

      There was only one dry line and Bottas was entitled to defend his position, so he moved slightly right and still left enough room for the other car, which is perfectly within the rules under dry conditions, but would be dangerous on a damp circuit.

      Russell had already committed to the move and pulled out to the right to overtake. He also should have realised that there is only one dry line there and Bottas would try to defend his position by staying on the grippy side going in to that corner. He did move a little more to the right than expected and then the rest is history.

      Both drivers were equally at fault, and I don’t think it has much to do with that 2nd Mercedes seat. It was just the conditions & DRS combined that made it end the way it did.

  34. Not only did he try to kill Bottas, completely almost destroyed the Merc, also insulted him and slapped him on the head. Russell mate calm down!!

    1. Insults. Thrown. Everywhere.

  35. In the end, NOT A SHRED OF HONOR.

  36. This didn’t age well. Russell needed a hero, and it was Latifi. And Russell got in the points too.

    “I need a hero
    I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
    He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast
    And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight”


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