During the 31st round of Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna English George Russell (Williams) and the Finn Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) starred in a spectacular touch that forced the stoppage of the competition with Red flag.
The incident occurred at the precise moment that Russell was winning over Bottas to 320 km/h. The maneuver did not end well since the English stepped on the grass with his wheels, lost control of the car and hit his rival, causing both of them to end up with their vehicles wrecked.
The crash, described as a racing incident by sports authorities, had a second round seconds later. Russell, the first to get off his car, went straight to the Nordic, reproached him for his attitude and hit his helmet. Bottas, still in his cabin, showed him the extended middle finger of his right hand, reproaching his attitude.
"We have this gentlemen's agreement that when there's a faster car approaching with the DRS, you don't shake the wheel at the last minute."said the Williams driver. "From the repetitions I saw, I always left room for two cars to fit, but obviously he lost control and hit me, and that was the end of the game." answered the one from Mercedes.
Although the clash was fortuitous, it is clear that the two are protagonists of another dispute: a place in Mercedes next year. Bottas, who as has been happening since 2017 has renewed his agreement with the team year after year, sees Russell as a serious threat, more so after what was demonstrated in the Sakhir GP last year when it was his turn to replace Hamilton.
And that is something that has not escaped the analysis of Toto wolff, responsible for the team of the three-pointed star. “The whole situation is not at all fun for us, to be honest. It's a pretty big accident. Our car is almost entirely up for scrapping in a context of spending limits. It will probably limit the improvements that we are able to bring ”, assured the team-manager.
He then pointed directly at Russell. "If he does a good job, he will be in Mercedes, if not, in the Renault Clio Cup. Today he was closer to the Renault Clio Cup ”, he said wryly.
Knowing that he lost this battle, Russell confirmed that in the next few days he will talk to Bottas about what happened. “Valtteri and I will talk later and clarify things. Obviously, in the heat of the moment, there are a lot of emotions, but I have no intention of holding a grudge or having a bad relationship with any driver on the grid ... My anger with him at the time was rather because I thought he had put us on the two in danger and it was an incredibly scary incident to be honest. "