VIDEO | Bottas vs Russell: The Fallout

22-04-2021 14:50
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One of the big talking points from last weekend's race at Imola was the huge crash involving George Russell and Valtteri Bottas . It caused the race to be red flagged but the whole situation has bigger implications. In part one of our Imola debrief we'll be looking at some of the fall out from the incident which saw both drivers retire. 

The rundown

So if somehow you didn't know what happened here's a rundown. Williams were having a good weekend, and were targeting their first points since Robert Kubica in 2019, however, Valtteri Bottas was having an absolute nightmare of it. Despite topping FP1 and FP2 the Finn struggled in qualifying and started the race all the way down in eighth. The Mercedes has often struggled to fight through the field when faced with lots of vehicles and Bottas in particular was struggling with this along with the conditions. With Bottas struggling to warm up his tires after pitting Russell sensed an opportunity and tried to overtake the Finn using DRS into the Tamburello chicane. Bottas defended the place by making the slightest movement to his right, forcing the Brit onto the vapor part of the track and that was enough to send Russell spinning into Bottas causing a huge crash. 

The fallout

However, the fallout from the event has been huge. Let's start with the immediate aftermath, both drivers pointed fingers at each other, quite literally and Russell even gave Bottas a slap on the helmet as they walked away. The radio messages weren't too complimentary either. Stewards decided no one was really at fault which leaves people picking sides.

In interviews, they continued to blame each other and when Mercedes and Toto Wolff had their say, they sat on the fence but more on Bottas' side. They said Bottas shouldn't have been back there but Russell should have been aware of who he was racing.

Now since then, Russell has apologized for his reaction, which although in the heat of moment, is arguably the most intense we've ever seen him. He knew this was a huge chance for Williams. Lewis Hamilton commented on Russell's Instagram post with some words of encouragement which is probably a good sign of how highly Mercedes and Hamilton rate him and we know how much his future will affect Russell's.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race Wolff joked: "I said if he does a good job he can be in a Mercedes, if not we are doing Renault Clio Cup." Which prompted a humourous reply from Renault and it looks like it may have eased tensions just a little.

This was so much bigger of an issue because of Russell's Mercedes ties, the pair were teammates just last year in Sakhir. It's not a good look for Bottas, battling Williams, who are probably the second slowest car on the grid. But at the same time this does Russell no favors either, his reaction won't have gone down well at Mercedes.

It remains to be seen whether this has long-term implications but on the whole, it has been a saga both drivers will want to forget in a hurry. 

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