George Russell was left fuming at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, claiming he was forced into a scary 350km/h crash by Valtteri Bottas.
The Williams driver attempted to overtake Mercedes’ Bottas on the pit straight at Imola but ran out of room on the outside, and span out of control when his wheel left the track, ending both of their races.
“What the f*** was he doing? Honestly. Is he a f***ing p***k or what?” Russell said on team radio.
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After the crash, Russell — who is a Mercedes-contracted driver — confronted Bottas trackside and appeared to slap the Finn on the helmet.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Russell said Bottas had broke the drivers’ code by making a late movement while he was close to top-speed and using DRS when downforce is compromised.
“Between all the drivers we’ve had this gentleman’s agreement where if there’s a faster car approaching with the DRS you don’t jolt the steering wheel at the very last moment,” he said. “I got the slipstream, 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 circuit when we are turning and there are wet patches. So an unfortunate incident, but 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 220mph (354km/h) and you’re going 30mph (50km/h) quicker than the car ahead, it’s massive.”
Asked to clarify what he had said to Bottas trackside, Russell said: “I asked him if he was trying to kill us both.”
Bottas, however, strongly believed he hadn’t done anything wrong — a view the race stewards agreed with, declaring the crash as a ‘racing incident’.
“Obviously the track is quite narrow and there’s only one dry line and he went from the outside,” Bottas said. “There was space all the time for two cars, but it didn’t make any sense that move – he obviously lost it and hit me.
“I haven’t spoken to him. I couldn’t hear a thing he was on about (trackside). I don’t really get it. It was clearly his fault and I don’t understand the rage.”