After George Russell publicly apologized for provoking the accident with Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, the current Williams driver revealed that the incident did not affect his relationship with Toto Wolff.
Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Janvi Unni
Russell has revealed he had long conversations with Toto Wolff, team principal of Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Team, after the incident.
Williams’ George Russell at a press conference at the Portuguese GP (Photo Credits: Gabriel Bouys – Pool / Getty Images)
“Toto and I talked a lot from the incident, but the content is private. He has been very supportive and constructive. Our relationship was not damaged in any way after the incident; quite the opposite. Likewise, everyone at Williams has been incredibly supportive of me; I rest in tenth place fighting for points, so we are proud of the progress”, said Russell.
The incident occurred in the middle of the race in Imola, the second leg of the 2021 Formula 1 calendar. Battling for ninth place with Bottas, Russell lost control of Williams as he passed over the grass and hit the Finn’s Mercedes, taking both of them out of the race.
George Russell and Valtteri Bottas at the 2021 Emilia-Romagna GP (Photo Credits: Hasan Bratic / picture alliance via Getty Images)
The Englishman got out of the car and patted his rival’s helmet, receiving a middle finger in response. The two disagreed in assigning responsibility for the bid, which the commissioners called a running incident, but the next day, Russell issued an apology.
The Williams driver had also replaced Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes at the Sakhir GP in 2020, when the seven-time champion tested positive for Covid-19, and acknowledged his commitment as part of the German team, promising to be cautious with a time double:
“I would not be in the position I am in today without the support of Mercedes. They protected me from the start, which is why Lewis and Valtteri are like teammates to me. The first rule is that you should never hit a mate. Regardless of the circumstances, we shouldn’t crash, whether it was my fault, his fault or a running incident.”
In an apology addressed to Bottas and the Williams team, who are looking for their first point in the championship, Russell acknowledged that he was wrong to have exalted himself after the incident, a point he reinforces when explaining the reason for the apology.
“I went against my own instincts to show emotion, which was a very bad judgment in the heat of the moment and led to more things that afternoon. So I felt it was necessary to publish this (apologies) on Monday. It was a great lesson for me: you need to take a moment to look at all the angles, rationally.”, declared the British.
Valtteri Bottas and George Russell at the 2020 Sakhir GP (Photo Credits: Florent Gooden – Pool / Getty Images)
Valtteri Bottas confirmed that he had read Russell’s publication and admitted the call to a call from the Briton, who did not answer. Without elaborating on the matter, the Mercedes driver also ensured that the case has already been overcome:
“I got a missed call on Monday, but I was sleeping. We didn’t talk after the race, but I’m sure George feels the same way: everything is settled. Toto and I talked later to understand the situation. We agreed to take advantage of what happened and move on. It was a day to forget.”