George Russell has apologised for colliding with Valtteri Bottas during Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and for the emotional comments he made afterwards.
The Williams driver posted on social media that it “wasn’t my proudest day” having made contact with the Mercedes driver attempting a pass for position in difficult conditions and not holding back in subsequent media interviews.
In the post, Russell acknowledged that the crash was his fault and that having had time to reflect on the incident, had acted out of character in the aftermath.
“Yesterday wasn’t my proudest day. I knew it would be one of our best opportunities to score points this season and, when those points matter as much as they do to us right now, sometimes you take risks. It didn’t pay off and I have to take responsibility for that,” he said.
“Having had time to reflect on what happened afterwards, I know I should have handled the whole situation better.”
Some thoughts on yesterday: pic.twitter.com/xU07da7DCz
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 19, 2021
With the Finn stuck in the bottom half of the top 10 for the first half of the race, Russell seized an opportunity with DRS to attempt a move for ninth position on lap 32.
A damp track that hadn’t fully dried off line and the nature of Imola’s main straight led Bottas to the right side of the circuit just as Russell made it alongside approaching the Tamburello chicane. The Williams driver caught the wet grass, pitching him sideways and into Bottas and both ended up shunting heavily into the barriers.
Both drivers are in the hunt for a Mercedes seat next season, with both managed by Toto Wolff and out of contract at the end of the 2021 season.
After making it back to the paddock and taking part in several interviews, Russell had insinuated that the crash had been personal, noting that had it been another driver, Bottas would have acted differently in defence.
Russell continued in his apology: “Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me.”
“I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect more from me. I’ve learned some tough lessons this weekend and will come out of this a better driver and a better person for the experience.
“Now it’s full focus on Portugal and a chance to show what I’m really about. Thanks for all the messages, both positive and negative. They will all help me to grow.”