Russell and Bottas cleared of blame for race-stopping shunt

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix stewards have cleared George Russell and Valtteri Bottas of blame for their dramatic collision which caused the race to be stopped.

The pair made contact approaching Tamburello as Russel was attempting to overtake his rival. Both drivers blamed the other for the crash.

But after speaking to both and studying footage of the collision, the stewards deemed it was a racing incident and decided not to penalise either of them.

Russell accused Bottas of violating an agreement between drivers not to make sudden moves while being overtaken. But the stewards ruled both drivers behaved correctly.

“Car 63 [Russell] approached car 77 [Bottas] to pass after the front straight a few laps after the restart when DRS had recently been enabled,” the stewards explained. “Car 77 maintained his line throughout the incident along the right hand side of the dry line, leaving at least a full car’s width to the right at all times.

“Car 63 approached with a significant speed advantage. He moved to pass on the right. As the cars approached the kink of turn one, the gap between them and the right hand side of the track decreased. At no time did either car manoeuvre erratically.

“The track appeared to be not especially wet through turn one but at the point of closest approach to the right hand side of the track, the right hand side tyres of car 63 hit an especially damp patch and the car snap-yawed, bearing in mind that the car had low downforce in the rear with the DRS open.

“The stewards conclude that the accident was a racing incident considering the conditions and take no further action.”

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Russell and Bottas cleared of blame for race-stopping shunt”

  1. The right decision. Better luck next time.

  2. Like many others, I would probably say George was a more to blame, but ok racing incident they say. However it would have been good for the stewards to also comment on the behaviour after the incident, Russell coming over to the car with Bottas winded from the accident and slapping the helmet, can’t say I was too pleased to see that from the head of the GPDA no less. I really like Russell usually, but this was somewhat unprofessional and he fully deserved the middle finger.

    1. Did he actually hit the helmet or was it the halo? I didnt see any part of Bottas move from the “blow” and that the stewards/Bottas/Russell/Toto have said nothing about a physical altercation makes me think the angle makes it look worse than it was.

      1. He definitely smacked the helmet. He wasn’t trying to actually do damage, so a petulant smack isn’t going to move anything with a helmet on.

  3. Perfect. One must wonder, had it been another driver instead of Russell, could that driver perform the overtake, and avoid touching the grass? The more Russell gets involved in these incidents, the more that will persuade Mercedes to look into other drivers.

    1. @krichelle Or perhaps Mercedes could reflect that they’ve left him too long to stew at the back of the grid. Now Williams/Russell are moving into points range, and VB seems to be drifting down field, the chances of them meeting on track look likely to continue.

    2. Russell made the point and I kind of agree, would Bottas have defended that hard against any driver other than Russell? Mercedes have created a scenario where every time these two come together on track they both feel they have to beat the other at all costs.
      The only positive for Mercedes is unless Bottas is having a terrible race or Russell is having a blinder they won’t come across each other much!

      1. It’s a pretty silly point to try and make. Of course he would’ve defended against everyone else. They’re out there racing. Bottas didn’t do anything egregious, and you see stuff like that every weekend. If Russell had held his line, it would’ve been fine, but he panicked.

        You have to trust that your competitor isn’t going to push you into the grass/wall or you can’t be a race car driver.

    3. Maybe Bottas shouldn’t be fighting a Williams in the first place?

  4. Peter Farrington
    18th April 2021, 18:57

    Question, why was Bottas in 9th place in the first place ? I think alarm bells rang when he thought George was passing him . Difficult to sit at home with so many “experts “ passing judgement !

    1. +100!

      Bottas was out for a jolly Sunday afternoon drive in the country.

      Disgraceful that he was in a position where a williams could even get alongside him!

    2. Nothing from Bottas why he was slow enough to be passed by Russell.

  5. Since there was barely one dry racing line, I don’t think DRS should have been enabled by the race director at this point in the race. The rest of the track was looking better for wider dry lines, but in this attack pass zone, it was not safe yet.

    1. @furkmyster I get your point. If I remember correctly when drivers put any sets of those dry tyres they are allowed to use DRS.

      1. Pretty sure its based on driver tyre usage predominantly because race control would struggle to make any judgement on what is dry enough. Regardless of DRS, Russell used poor judgement.

  6. 100% racing incident, yes.

  7. It just looked like Russell got frit and went onto the grass. His really nasty behavior to bottas afterward was not impressive.

    1. +1

      I also think he panicked a bit and then didn’t see things clearly…

  8. I do hope that George has taken the time to apologise for hitting Valterri on the helmet after the crash.

    Very unprofessional.

    It probably felt like #77’s fault in the heat of the moment, but it was solely the result of optimism on a damp track.

    1. I demand him an immediate reconciliation right now.

    2. he screwed big time this time. Toto is probably thinking again if he wants to get RUS to his team anytime soon.

  9. Looking at George’s onboard, I am surprised no one is praising the halo right now. It looked to me like George’s car could’ve done a lot more damage.

    1. Saw tweets praising the halo and that delighted me. Forza Halo.

  10. Some good comments here today. For my money, the stewards are right to say it was a racing incident, but Russell had so much to lose from the attempt.

    How often is a Williams in P9 these days? Russell has tried to overtake around the outside. On a wet track. The merc in front is the reigning constructor champion. Merc is his current employer. So much to lose from a bad decision….

    All valteri did was defend his position. You are allowed one defensive move on a straight.

  11. I immediately went on YouTube to search for the video of this. Just for you ricciardo!

    My guess is they were #racingasone

    1. My guess is that Russell was upset that Bottas went on Ramp with him when he was supposed to go on A

  12. This didn’t age well

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