Russell’s move on Bottas was “too aggressive considering it was a Mercedes” – Wolff

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas and George Russell both held a degree of blame for the “nasty” accident that saw both cars crash violently out of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, says Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff.

However he believes Mercedes junior driver Russell should have taken more care given the Williams driver was racing one of the team’s works car.

The pair were battling over ninth place soon after DRS was activated for the first time in the race on lap 31. As Russell pulled to the outside of the Mercedes on the approach to Tamburello, he lost control after just brushing the damp grass with his right-hand tyres, pitching him into a spin and spearing into Bottas alongside. The two drivers were then simply passengers as they careened into the barriers, both suffering heavy impacts and littering the circuit with debris.

Russell was quick to climb out of the wrecked Williams and made his way over to Bottas. A visibly irate Russell confronted Bottas and asked the Mercedes driver if he had been trying to kill them both, while Bottas was seen making an offensive gesture in reply.

The race was red flagged to allow for the track to be cleared and barriers repaired. Wolff says that he will make it clear to both drivers that they had a role to play in the incident that he says was “absolutely not necessary”.

“It takes two to tango,” says Wolff. “It was a nasty accident.

“I can understand it from both drivers’ perspectives, but if you look at it from a global perspective, from where we sit at Mercedes, it’s something that shouldn’t be happening. I think both of them think that they are not to blame and I will need to make the point that this is not clear-cut for me.”

Wolff says he understands why Russell attempted the pass, but suggested that the 22-year-old should have been more careful.

“It was quite a move on the DRS, but I guess when a driver doesn’t go for a gap, he isn’t a racing driver,” Wolff says.

“On the other side, maybe it was too aggressive considering that it was a Mercedes and the track was drying up.”

Russell accused Bottas of breaking the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to not make sudden movements when defending positions, while Bottas insisted he left Russell the required racing room at all times prior to the collision.

Wolff jokingly acknowledged he had previously been “teasing” Russell “and said if he does a good job he can be in a Mercedes, if not we’re doing Renault Clio Cup.

“Today we are more close to Renault Clio Cup.”

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
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103 comments on “Russell’s move on Bottas was “too aggressive considering it was a Mercedes” – Wolff”

  1. George Russell is driving for Williams, not Mercedes. The fact that he was racing Bottas should be totally irrelevant, as they are driving for different teams. It is wrong for Toto Wolff to suggest that Russell should have been more careful against a works Mercedes, and he should fight them in the same way as he would any other time.

    1. Maybe Toto meant Russell shouldn’t have gone so hard, considering it was a signficantly faster car (though Bottas never looked quick at any point starting from Saturday).

      That’s the only “kind” interpretation here. Russell drives for Williams (as you said) and doesn’t have to go easy on a Mercedes just becauase he’s their junior.

      1. It being a faster a car is a reason to go for it: you won’t have a lot of opportunities to get past

    2. @f1frog Agree. If Mercedes do replace Bottas, it will be precisely because he doesn’t make these kind of bold moves, which Wolff himself more or less admits in his remarks. But meanwhile Russell can’t be constrained because he might tangle with a Mercedes when he’s racing for another team. Whatever the assessment of blame, that should not be a constraint he places on Russell.

    3. Exactly, those points are worth much needed cash at Williams. If Bottas can’t stay ahead of a Williams on pace then he doesn’t deserve to be driving for the works team IMO.

      1. JohnnyRye (@)
        18th April 2021, 21:16

        I typically agree with Wolff, but complaining about the cost of the crash, knowing it’s a bigger blow to Williams is laughable.

        Also saying Russell should be more careful around Mercedes is even more disappointing.

        1. Also saying Russell should be more careful around Mercedes is even more disappointing.

          What’s next for Toto, warning Lewis that he was not cautious enough when lapping their junior driver, and that he could’ve hit him?

        2. @johnnyrye It’s not the actual cost as Merc can easily afford, more what better use the money could be used for. Williams won’t be maxing out the budget cap allowance but Mercedes will be and the crash will be a sizeable dent in the budget for this/next year’s car upgrade/design. Added to the already reduced aero testing deficit it will cause pain and a few headaches.

          1. JohnnyRye (@)
            20th April 2021, 2:12

            @stuben, I get the difference but I just find it ironic that Wolff brought in finances and development to the argument. Particularly when he knows the crash will have a bigger overall impact to Williams than Merc.

            Generally, I found it petty in the grand scheme is all

    4. I agree. These comments from Toto are dangerous and suggest interference with another team! Whilst I don’t believe he means any malice with these comments, it brings the sport into disrepute, probably worse than the actions of the drivers in the immediate aftermath.
      Also Toto should note that this incident saved Hamilton’s race, as without it, he would have remained a lap down.

      1. JohnnyRye (@)
        18th April 2021, 21:17


    5. Well, ideally yes, but Russel is managed by Toto, he is like a Toto’s son who ruined his racing company. How would you look at it. Georges ultimate goal is to win the championship, and for that he will never achieve with Williams, he needs to get to Merc or other top team.

      He screwed it big and he probably needs to do a big favor to merc duo this season so that he will be pardoned.

  2. In F1, evertime Russell had a shot to score points, he binned it.

    1. @jeff1s He tried to get that point at all costs. In my mind he doesn’t need to prove that he can score a point in that Williams. Everyone knows he is fast. He had his change in the Mercedes. I think for Russell that one point is becoming something bigger than it really needs to be. He went on a very bold move and it costed not only to himself but also Mercedes some valuable positions.

    2. JohnnyRye (@)
      18th April 2021, 21:18

      Really!? So he binned it in Bahrain last year while leading!?

  3. The bigger question is what is Valteri Bottas in a Mercedes doing being overtaken by a Williams?

    Judging by the closing speed Russel had it looked like Bottas was out for a nice Sunday drive in the country.

    He should have been challenging for a podium not being hunted down by a slow midfield team!

    1. The bigger question is what is Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes doing being overtaken by a Williams?

      Being Valtteri Bottas

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        18th April 2021, 17:48

        It isn’t exactly a general thing for Bottas being this slow though. Last week, he looked basically matched to Hamilton the whole race pace wise.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          18th April 2021, 17:50

          To add to this,I think Bottas is generally bad in wet conditions and he just didn’t warm up his tyres at the restart very well. I think once he’s warmed them up, he likely will have been up to similar pace to the front runners in the dry, but it was to late, he’d already lost the time.

          1. @thegianthogweed – funnily enough, when he kinda got stuck behind Stroll at a given time, I recalled Hockenheim-2019, wondering if he’d star another ludicrous moment. And he didn’t disappoint.

          2. @thegianthogweed True, most of Bottas’s poor or non-descript races have been down to tyre warming issues, whether at the start or after some incident, or after pitting.

          3. @thegianthogweed He’s not necessarily slow, but in recent years in particular it seems every time he has a setback in a race he is incapable of mounting any kind of impressive comeback through the field. A lot of times it’s put down to some seemingly minor car issue but he just seems to struggle massively as soon as he’s put into any traffic. When Hamilton has a setback (like today) he almost invariably recovers and limits the damage as much as can be expected. When Bottas suffers a setback, I have very little confidence in him recovering any lost ground, and on days like today he just seems to get worse and worse.

    2. Indeed.

      Ironically, the guy that benefits the most from this clash is Lewis Hamilton. Toto now knows that the other 2 potential drivers are a massive step down compared to Lewis, one in terms of outright speed (Bottas), one in terms of wheel to wheel racing acumen (Russell).

      1. Think back a few years and it was Max crashing every race. Go back a few more years and it was Lewis crashing all the time.

        My reason for this is that the driver is outperforming the car, or to put another way, he is asking the car to do something he can but, ultimately, it can’t.

        To me, that is the sign of a driver going places – and no puns about him not arriving because he crashed on the way;-)

      2. Against Kubica, who have never found the way to be the former-great himself at his Williams stint, and Latifi he had little opportunity to practice wheel to wheel racing. Both teammates were far off most often.

        Here Toto have spoken as a team leader, who is only interested in maximising results, without taking risks.

        As I am not eagle eyed enough, I can not decide who to blame more. Imo if it would be a 60:40, stewards would have already decided it, it is closer than that, likely even closer than an 55:45.
        There they could not have asked Bottas to yield against Russell, he reacted badly when he had to yield vs Hamilton at some rare occasions. Although in this case it would have been a nice thing to give a bit back to George for Sakhir, as he had some chance to score even multiple points, and Bottas could have DRS-ed him when his tyres reach appropriate temps after his pit stop.
        Both could have yielded for heir own sake, without asking. The speed difference was good for Russell, in a slightly better situation Bottas just lets him go through. So both made small mistakes maybe, and at that speed it is very dangerous. I’m awaiting the steward decision very much.

        But even if I like Russell, his after-crash behaviour might earns him some penalty points, even if the situation was undestandibly very stressful. I worried for them so much, it was so much full of debris, and looked so bad, so at least they luckily got away with it.

    3. Truer words never spoken.

    4. Indeed, absolutely shameful.

    5. His tyre was not warm yet.

  4. And in the end, I know what the hell both Bottas and Russell said on the radio.

  5. Maybe if Bottas at the front instead of fighting for position with a Williams he wouldn’t have been in this position. The fact that he was being passed by Russell (for the 2nd time in four races) is maybe a hint to Toto where his priorities should be come contract time.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      18th April 2021, 17:55

      but who it was is irrelevant. Norris defended Hamilton like Bottas defended Russell and they were towards the front of the grid. Where they are makes no difference in this instance. Norris pushed Hamilton wide, possibly slightly wider in the same location, but hamilton didn’t overreact like russell did.

      1. I can’t find the replay of Norris and Lewis, but with Bottas you can see he’s still coming right across the white line towards Russell when Russell’s wheels go off. What’s the point of trying to close the door on someone when they’re already along side? I think Russell’s right that it’s unnecessary and dangerous.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          18th April 2021, 18:37

          I think you should watch sky’s replays. Bottas basically followed the racing line. It would be harder for him to go tight because of the slight left turn. The brief right turn from bottas was obviously intentional, but there was plenty of space and it likely will have helped make it more tricky for Russell round the corner. When Russell was partially along side, Bottas even started steering left before russell lost control, which clearly indicated he was trying to avoid being hit, then Russell lost control because he had overreacted to bottas’s slight move. Hamilton had the same amount of space when Norris tried to defend his position.

          1. @thegianthogweed

            The brief right turn from Bottas was obviously intentional, but there was plenty of space and it likely will have helped make it more tricky for Russell round the corner

            But that’s the crux. Why make it tricky when he’s already being passed? A few seasons ago, Hamilton made a similar drift right, in dry conditions, when Verstappen was trying to pass and Verstappen ended up in the marbles and off. Fair? Yes because it was within the rules and safe enough, it just sent Verstappen off the corner. Hamilton’s ‘shimmy’ was a deliberate feint intended to make Max veer (too far) right though. But in wet conditions, on a fast section of track, Bottas doing the same to Russell had very different consequences as we saw.

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            18th April 2021, 19:03

            I don’t really understand your point. Bottas won’t have expected his move to result in such an over reaction from russell. What he may have expected was it to make russell getting by more tricky – or at least successfully breaking and getting the right racing line round the next corner. Bottas’s only hopes were making it a little harder, which he did, but he wasn’t over the limit as there has been no penalty.

            Russell should have been aware that sudden changes in the wet have worse consequences. He didn’t need to do it as suddenly as he did, and that would have avoided going onto the wet as far, and very likely the loss of control.

          3. @thegianthogweed Yes Russell took a risk but he had the pace to try, and no Bottas didn’t intend for the dramatic consequences. I think that’s more or less the consensus (following the stewards decision too). However, I’m inclined to think Russell’s angry response wasn’t misplaced. When a driver goes for a ‘big move’ like that, any swerve or twitch in input from the driver being passed becomes much more sensitive and dramatic. My point is that drivers know that – and the Hamilton example is a case where he used that ‘twitchiness’ of the passing driver to his advantage, causing VER to over-react. But ultimately only VB knows what he was thinking at that moment.

      2. Greetings.
        I agree, and I might add: Norris, Leclerc and Sainz, all of them held their grounds (the dry racing line) pushing Hamilton to the wet portion of the tarmac.
        George put his wheel and wasn’t easy on throttle, he’s doing no favours to his reputation.

  6. So Wolff threw Russell under the bus.

    1. Threw him under a Renault Clio! ;)

  7. Yikes, that’s a bad comment. I don’t like the idea of him telling Russell to treat the works Mercedes cars different from any other. He may be a Mercedes development driver but he’s currently in a Williams that Mercedes have seen fit to leave him in despite him showing repeatedly he’s ready for a better drive. Equally there wasn’t much ‘aggressive’ about the move.

    1. So what, Toto spoke his mind and you don’t like it? If it was you in his place you would have thought exactly like him, defending your privileges. His move was not aggressive, but the result is, George screwed it, it was his mistake, he overreacted and went onto the grass. There was enough space for him, he should have drove straight, and not move to right.

  8. Bottas shouldn’t have been in a situation where he’s about to get overtaken by a Williams in the first place. Not like he was lapping a Williams or even overtaking a Williams for a position, but the other way round because of his general slowness in the race.

    1. @jerejj Only two races in of course but it really does highlighht how quickly Bottas drops off the pace of Hamilton when the Mercs are no longer on-rails. Seems to be a lack of adaptability that could end up being likened to post-2013 Vettel.

  9. Russell was involved some how in the two accidents involving the Mercedes cars.
    He failed to allow himself to be lapped easily, delaying his consent to being last up until the very last moment on a damp track which enabled Hamilton’s mistake.
    Then his over eagerness to get past Bottas caused a massive accident with the other car.
    I can understand his frustration, but he is not endearing himself to the team he wants to race for right now.

    1. I have been keeping quiet with this, because it seems silly to suggest that Russell has something with the Mercedes drivers. Think of it: Hamilton went off when he tried to overtake him, and Bottas crashed with him while overtaking. But Russell was fighting with Bottas for 9th or 10th place, which is important for Williams, and if the latter had qualified higher, probably this incident would not have happened. I can’t give a penalty to either driver though, but to me the incident is clearly Russell’s fault. Damage has been done anyway and I would agree on penalty points to him, but it does not change the outcome, as both of them finished with zero points.

    2. Russell did comment about the incident with Lewis. He said he tried to get out of the way as fast as possible but it was unfortunately the wettest part of the circuit. In retrospect he should’ve waited a little and picked a better spot.

      1. He, as in: Hamilton that is.
        Lewis was to eager and paid the price. The Verstappen battle already is getting under his skin.

        1. I think Ooliver point is: whilst being blueflagged Russell didn’t give up the racing line, but yes, Hamilton was naive.
          And please, stop pretending Max didn’t make a mistake, he almost lost P1 by his own, sometimes you sound like Hamilton had lost the championship lead by ending up dead last in today’s race. Calm down, the game is still on.

        2. Hamiltons aggressiveness may have caused his mistake but it also helped him recover second place AND more importantly, retain leading the championship by getting the fastest time. On the other hand, VER didn’t want to risk it even though his tyres were better in the latter stages of the race.

  10. Geroge threw himself under the bus with his reaction not toto.Imagine Bottas was in hospital right now with internal injuries… Geroge woulda threw his carear away with that petty reaction. Coulda got a double decker bus through there.

  11. Why does Russell strut and talk like he’s a multiple grand prix winner and a shoo in future champ, very unsportsmanlike comments those from the 2nd coming of Maldonado.

    1. Yeah, he’s never going to win a single championship, I would bet anything.

      1. I have no intention of disrespecting Maldonado because he is an undisputed meme legend to this day.

    2. 2nd coming from Maldonado? That’s Mazepin to me!

      1. Don’t insult Maldonado like that.

        1. Sorry. I remember him as a meme legend.

        2. Hey hey hey. Did I ever insult Maldonado? THIS IS A JOKE, OKAY?! WHAT YOU SAY, HUH?! GET OUT OF HERE!

    3. Jesus christ.

    4. The dude was literally overtaking a Mercedes in a Williams, I’m more interested in what he has to say than Bottas

  12. It is at moments like these we see how Toto is full of crap. Russell’s move was for the biggest feasible achievement Williams can get in a race. If it was a fight for the lead, he’d come all apologetic advocating it’s great seeing those two fight, gud for tha show, blah blah blah…

    1. It was a racing incident. You are right with Russell’s chance for a potential achievement with Williams. Then again it could be that opportunity that he saw which clouded his judgement precipitating a massive accident and then not handling the aftermath properly.
      Russell is an outstanding driver of which there is no doubt and I believe he is long overdue an very decent car, even one like the Mclaren, but it is moments like these which can deny him an opportunity he so deserves.

      1. Russell is an outstanding driver of which there is no doubt and I believe he is long overdue an very decent car, even one like the Mclaren, but it is moments like these which can deny him an opportunity he so deserves.

        That’s exactly why I say Toto is full of it. Every now and then he comes with those made-up statements to sound supportive of racing and stuff. Well, today what happened was purely racing, nothing more, nothing less. It happens at times. And here he comes implicitly giving responsibility to one of the parts when none had done anything inexcusable.

  13. These comments by Wolff are totally out of line as he suggests that Russell should behave differently to a Mercedes than any other car.

    Russell isn’t driving for Mercedes, but Williams. Where ge got a contract on his own, without the help of Mercedes.

    1. Nah, Williams is a daughter team of Mercedes, just like Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri for Red Bull. You can’t get a seat in a podium car if you’re not a team player.

      1. Nah, Mercedes and Williams are a bunch of traitors. Bottas betrayed us for insulting him, Russell betrayed us for confronting Bottas a la Schumacher on Sato Belgium 2005.

    2. @silfen Your point is correct if Toto’s comments are taken at face value but the message I heard (or chose to hear) was that Toto said that Russell has been demoted down the pecking order for the second Mercedes seat.

      1. I really doubt that, he’d be shooting himself in the foot, there are several strong drivers now on the grid: hamilton, verstappen, leclerc, russel, norris, ricciardo at least, and giving up on a tier 1 driver to stay with a tier 2 like bottas could come to bite him.

        1. @esploratore That logic assumes that Russell is the only option MB are willing to explore and have no alternatives. MB will always have interest from (probably all) tier 1 drivers if a seat is genuinely available.

          I have no doubt that Toto wants to put Russell in the second Merc but he isn’t going to forget this in a hurry and these comments are a reminder that Russell is not a shoe-in for any future promises that may or may not have been made.

      2. Anon A. Mouse
        19th April 2021, 1:23

        I think a more accurate interpretation of that comment is that it was an aggressive move to try to pull off on a car that’s objectively faster.

    3. Exactly. Wolf has had many opportunities to put Russell in that Mercedes seat and has declined every time in favour of Bottas who just keeps getting worse. Bottas should never have put himself in that position. Everybody is racing each other especially at different teams.

  14. I’m interpreting this differently to some others… he’s not suggesting Russell should treat a Mercedes differently to other cars because it’s a Mercedes.

    He’s suggesting there’s little point going full-on and taking risks to try to overtake a much quicker car (which may be a Mercedes, or may be a Red Bull), as he’d never be able to hold the position long-term even if he did get past.

    Which I both agree and disagree with… rationally it makes sense, but I’d rather drivers just attacked everyone the same way.

    1. And bottas is such a passive driver that you never know!

    2. @neilosjames Honestly Bottas was so slow though that he might have been carrying some kind of issue, and with changeable conditions you never know if the performances of the cars are going to be different to what you’d normally expect. I completely understand Russell going for that move, as even if he wouldn’t be able to keep Bottas behind until the end, he wouldn’t want to lose time to his other competitors by sitting behind a slow Bottas (whatever the reason) for several laps.

    3. If the Mercedes was quicker how was the Williams attempting an overtake? Every driver knows that Bottas is a mobile chicane and is there to be passed

    4. Why would you try to overtake a faster car???

      Why bother racing then? Just get the fastest car racing in front, then rank the teams by their times in quali and let them drive around a safe distance of each other!

  15. It wasn’t an aggressive move regardless of the car he was overtaking. The overspeed was huge due to the awful DRS gadget and he had plenty of straight to get Bottas, the accident was due to Bottas drifting across the track and Russell over reacting to that slight movement. Wolffs comments are wrong though, Bottas should never be lower than p4 and he himself put himself in that situation to be racing a williams. Russell shouldn’t have to change his attitude to a Mercedes when he is after all a williams driver. Ocon always said “I am a mercedes driver first” and they dumped him anyway. I hope Russell stays as he is.
    It’s also a bit unfair that wolff said this about Russell because to be fair Russell has always been more than professional in the way he carries himself and talks about his 2 teams

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th April 2021, 18:16

    A complicated situation. I feel for Russell and it wasn’t entirely his fault. Seeing Norris and Leclerc do so well when he’s easily as good must be hard. He chose the wrong team and he’s going to pay for it.

    I find this race track very dangerous especially in these conditions.

    1. He didn’t choose it, Williams was the only team available, and williams chose Russel. George was never in mclaren or ferrari driver program.

  17. “..maybe it was too aggressive considering that it was a Mercedes and the track was drying up” or should I read this as “..maybe it was too aggressive considering that it was a Mercedes and George has a Mercedes contract, so when opportunities arise, do not attack/pass a Mercedes for position.” ?

  18. If Wolff wanted Russell to race more carefully around the Mercedes, he should have given him a Mercedes seat.

    1. I have to agree Andy. Toto has passed on the opportunity one too many times now. 8 feel George could well be heading somewhere else.

    2. George is not that important at this moment for merc. If Verstappen says he wants to move to merc from 2022 he will get his place, in case Ham wants to retire. George is just a backup plan if Verstappen is not an option anymore.

      And, more importantly, it’s not always about the driver and his speed. Big teams wants to have someone who is fast and marketable. It’s different to market your road cars with Hamilton from George or Max. Hamilton is 7 WDC and he will bring more sponsors and fans. Big teams are here to market their cars mainly.

  19. The crash was russells fault. Bottas was always going to the right. He did not move sharply to the right. Russel also had enoigh space to keep all 4 wheels on the track. He got over excited went off onto the grass and caused the accident. Bottas did not make any sudden moves but moved across gradually. Russell should have been aware of bottas driving direction. Not getting frightened in the middle of the overtake

    1. I’m not sure the grass was the problem here. I’m pretty sure from the onboards that George had already lost control before he reached the grass. From his perspective, you can hear the wheels spin before he is anywhere near the grass. Bottas did not technically do anything wrong, as he did leave a space, but he didn’t leave a space in any dry part of the track. The stewards also noted this in their report, saying he hit ‘an especially damp patch’ on the exit of turn 1 (the fast kink, not Tamburello), and ‘at no time did either car manoeuvre erratically’. I think racing incident is the fairest and best outcome of this, although would not be surprised if Russell faces some kind of disciplinary action for his actions afterwards.

  20. Russel strongly feels he should be in Bottas seat, and tried to make that point on the track.. on top of that; He was having a dig at Bottas on dutch TV, saying he shouldn’t have been there in the first place, he shoud be fighting for the win in front.

    1. And he’s right – Bottas being miles off it means he is genuinely fighting a Williams for position in a car that is either best/2nd best.

      Bottas is not a bad driver, he just isn’t an exceptional one.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      18th April 2021, 20:24

      And yet he has binned it twice at this circuit. Bottas has actually only been responsible for his own or anyone elses retirement once in over 8 years in f1. Bottas may not be spectacular, but if along side Hamilton, I still think the combination of Bottas-hamilton will be better for the team than Russell-Hamilton. I just feel there will be tention like with Rosberg there and constant team mate collisions which simply never happens with hamilton and Bottas. I’m still not 100% sure Bottas will be leaving at the end of this season, especially if it isn’t confirmed if hamilton is staying.

  21. I can see why Russell would be chasing aggressively to make his point that he deserves Bottas’ seat.

    I think he may be underestimating how vindictive and harsh Mercedes’ (or even toto’s) politics can be. Out of all the many people who contributed to the meltdown and Spygate in McLaren, alonso is one of the few Mercedes have seemingly blacklisted. When Lewis was pushing nico around in their first year, the first time nico pushed back he was publicly excoriated, while Lewis got away scot free. They pushed Ross brawn out despite him rebuilding the team twice and handing them a championship winning operation, for no reason anyone can fathom.

    Mercedes doesn’t officially have a 1-2 driver policy and like to project an air of egalitarian cohesion, but if you look at the cracks then it’s a place where being out of favour is a potential death sentence.

    Can they tell a Williams driver not to race their cars? Of course not, that would be unethical and totally at odds with their cuddly public image. Would they send someone round to Williams hospitality to mutter “nice contract you used to have there” at Russell? Yes indeed. They jumped Russell over their designated reserve driver and their other junior drivers last year, he’s dreaming if he thinks he’s that special they wouldn’t drop him in seconds too.

    Right now, there are 2 drivers on the grid that teams will bend around, Lewis and max. Ferrari might for leclerc but that’s as much to persuade themselves there a third option as anything else. Everyone else is disposable. Backmarkers nobody is clamouring to hire who have the charisma of a wet blanket can throw their toys around… if they want…but will find themselves whining in their trailer in some lower category pretty quick.

  22. So this will lead to Russell’s resignation from GPDA?

    1. Paul Drewett
      19th April 2021, 0:19

      This was a fantastic thread to read. Personally I think this was 50:50. Botas moved to interfere with the overtake, Russell overreacted. But I would love to see Russell in a better car, Bottas is strong but not exciting, so IMHO it would be better if the Rosberg Hamilton battle was reinacted with Russell Hamilton, or we saw a Leclerc Russell pairing, or even a Russell Verstappen pairing.

      1. Nice take on that incident. Anyway, Russell position in the GPDA isn’t in danger yet, I’ll expect more news regarding his GPDA position soon.

  23. Cristiano Ferreira
    18th April 2021, 20:52

    If Russel did what Ocon did to Verstappen in Brazil (2018 i think) I bet Toto would be much happier with the result.

    Russel is driving for Williams, and fighting for points. He doesn’t care if the car ahead is a Mercedes or a McLaren. That’s how racing drivers think, and that’s correct. Toto Wolff as a racer should known this.

    1. Toto is more a businessman than a racer, so, it’s normal that he thinks that way. And people mock him for not talking his mind.

  24. petebaldwin (@)
    18th April 2021, 21:37

    What is Toto on about!? Russell wasn’t aggressive – he was performing a DRS pass on the straight and Bottas squeezed him. Should he have just backed out when that happened?

    Secondly, if you want to mange Russell, give him a seat. Otherwise, he’s a Williams driver so he’ll do what him and his team want which I imagine is to try and race other cars.

  25. Mark in Florida
    18th April 2021, 22:44

    Maybe Toto looking for another wing man not a racer. Totos already used George to undercut Lewis salary so what is he going on about. Russell’s crash deployed the LRS. The Lewis Recovery System it’s even better than the maligned DRS . Briattore wasn’t at the track was he?

  26. So he should back off because it’s a Mercedes? If he thinks teams should race each other differently based on who they’re driving for I guess Wolff won’t mind if the Alpha Tauri’s start blocking his Mercs from time to time then?

  27. Correct me if I am mistaken but after watching the replay you can hear when Russel loses traction. The grass had nothing to do with it until way after the fact. You can hear his revs rise sharply way before he gets near the grass. He lost traction on the wet patch. Not grass. I saw that in the first replay on the broadcast and then viewed it again just to be sure. I might need my eyes checked? I’m with Russel on this one. If there is a gentleman’s agreement, as Russel stated, then Bottas broke that agreement. Especially considering the wet conditions.

  28. Oh no, you can’t do that, we are Mercedes! We control half the grid and you touch us, you lose a potential drive, an engine supply or ability to create a next pink Mercedes. This is a nice and open threat.

  29. I imagine Wolf is mulling over the question, does he avoid a headache and keep the well-behaved Bottas or does he take on Russell knowing that the kid is unlikely to yield to Hamilton if the situation arises.

  30. Bad case of a conflict of interest. Russel is managed by Toto; that’s the root of the problem. People involved in teams’ operation should not be allowed to manage drivers. Especially, if they are in a capacity like Toto.

  31. George Russell: Sacked?

  32. This didn’t age well

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