Russell apologises to Bottas and anyone else he 'let down' - The Race
Formula 1

Russell apologises to Bottas and anyone else he ‘let down’

Apr 19 2021

Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell has apologised to Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas after their big crash and subsequent disagreement in Sunday’s Imola race.

Russell, who is supported by Mercedes and is viewed by many as a likely successor to Bottas in the team, lost control of his Williams and crashed with Bottas when trying to pass the Finn on the approach to the Tamburello chicane at the start of the lap.

Russell felt Bottas was responsible, and after both complained of each other to their respective teams’ on the radio Russell approached Bottas’s stationary Mercedes and they had an argument.

Russell reiterated that he viewed Bottas as the guilty party when speaking to media post-race, but his specific arguments earned little favour with Mercedes’ team boss Toto Wolff, who dismissed Russell’s theory that Bottas defended harder against him than he would’ve against another driver.

On Monday, Russell posted a statement on social media walking back his comments, describing his overtaking attempt as a “risk” that “didn’t pay off”, and apologising to Bottas as well as Williams and “to anyone who felt let down by my actions”.

“Yesterday wasn’t my proudest day,” said Russell. “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.

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“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 as a better driver and a better person for the experience. Now it’s full focus on [the next race in] 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.”

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