APRIL 20, 2021
Incident won't hurt Mercedes relationship says Russell
George Russell has publicly apologised to Valtteri Bottas for lashing out after their high speed crash at Imola.
After being chided by Toto Wolff, the Mercedes junior and 2021 Williams driver said on social media that he has now decided to "take responsibility".
"I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions," the British driver, who admits the replays look "different" to how he perceived the crash at the time, said in a lengthy statement.
The apology follows Wolff's strong rebuke of the 23-year-old driver, who appears to be first in line to succeed one of Mercedes' current works drivers.
"The manoeuvre he made implied risks and did not take into account that the car in front of him was a Mercedes," said the Austrian.
"All the drivers at the academies should never lose sight of the global perspective of things. I think they have a lot to learn from what happened," Wolff added.
Russell, who had slapped Bottas' helmet before the Finn had even emerged from his wreck, told reporters that he is confident the incident "will not hurt my relationship with Mercedes".
However, he continues to suspect that Bottas defended his position so stridently because he regards Russell as a threat to his future in Formula 1.
"There is no tension at all between Valtteri and I," Russell insisted. "Obviously you can take my comment as you wish. I think it was pretty clear how it was intended.
"But maybe I was wrong. Maybe he's just fighting for absolutely every position.
"Valtteri and I will talk and we will clear the air. I've got no intention to hold any grudges or have any bad relationship with any driver on the grid."