Williams driver George Russell believes the crash between him and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was “unavoiable” and noted that he wouldn’t have made the same move “on another driver”.
Russell and Bottas had a coming together at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on the approach to turn 2 whilst battling for ninth place.
Bottas appeared to make a slight move to the right, pushing Russell off line which caused the Williams driver to lose control and crash into the Mercedes. Both cars were out of the race which brought out the red flags.
Russell was clearly irked as the Briton angrily approached the Finn – he later revealed he’s asked Bottas “if he was trying to kill us both”.
Bottas, who showed him his middle finger in response, felt that he had left enough space for Russell, but Russel feels Bottas could’ve done things differently.
“We’ve had this gentleman’s agreement that when there’s a faster car approaching with the DRS, you don’t jolt the steering wheel at the very last moment,” said Russell.
“I pulled out, I got the slipstream, I pulled out, and just as I pulled out, Valtteri moved very slightly, and that just put me off-line and put me onto the wet stuff.
“In perfectly dry conditions on a very ordinary circuit, it’s dangerous, let alone on a very narrow track when we are turning and there’s wet patches. So an unfortunate incident.
“But equally, it’s been inevitable, an incident like that would occur when drivers make small moves like this. It’s the smallest of moves, but when you’re going at 220 mph, and you’re going 30 mph quicker than the car ahead, it’s massive.”
Williams were looking strong this weekend with both cars managing enter Q2 in qualifying. The Mercedes junior driver was running in the points in ninth place and questioned whether Bottas would’ve made the same move to another driver.
“Obviously I was very pissed off and frustrated with him at the time,” Russell said.
“I’m fighting for P9, a P9 for him is absolutely nothing. 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.”
Russell retired from the Grand Prix at Imola last season and said he has “no doubt” Bottas was to blame.
“I’m sure from his perspective, he feels it’s my fault, I’ve got no doubts about that,” said the 23-year-old.
“Equally, he knows the closing speeds of these cars, when you’re behind with slipstream and DRS. He knows that is not the correct thing to be doing.”
“Like I said, if you’re fighting for victory on the last lap of the race, maybe. But not in conditions like this and not mid-race when he is P9, which is nothing.”