George Russell has aimed a thinly-veiled dig at Valtteri Bottas after the pair were involved in a huge accident at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday. The 22-year-old appeared to lose the back end of his Williams car as he attempted to squeeze by on the outside, clipping the grass on the edge of the track and careering into the side of the Finn’s Mercedes.
Both drivers were ruled out of the race as a result, with the incident leaving debris littered across the circuit going into the first chicane, but Russell and Bottas thankfully emerged unharmed.
The safety car was called into action before the race was quickly red-flagged in order to allow marshals to engage in a rapid clean-up operation.
The pair were left frustrated by the crash, with Russell issuing a foul-mouthed message via team radio in response, while Bottas was equally aggrieved.
The former has since issued his verdict on Twitter, suggesting that his Mercedes counterpart should have left a suitable gap for the safety of all parties involved.
“Thanks for all the messages. I’m fine, just disappointed,” said Russell.
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“At the end of the day, it’s an unfortunate incident. You’re entitled to defend your position. But at 330kph, you have to respect the speed and the conditions when doing so.
“Gutted for the team. They deserved more today.”
Russell had made a promising start to Sunday’s race, finding himself in a rare points-scoring position after working his way up the order.
Meanwhile, Bottas was enduring a torrid time out on the track at Imola, with the 31-year-old struggling to improve on his starting berth of eighth place.
The pair were, of course, team-mates for one weekend only at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went on to take the chequered flag at Imola, with the Dutchman sealing his first race victory on Italian soil.
Bottas’ team-mate Hamilton recovered excellently from an earlier crash to finish as the runner-up, while Lando Norris of McLaren sealed a rare spot on the podium in third.
Offering his opinion on the incident involving Russell, Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle appeared to side with the Williams man by suggesting that Bottas should have acknowledged that his rival was committed to the move and left a suitable amount of room.
“Valtteri wasn’t leaving him a whole lot of space,” said Brundle. “Russell had got a very big run on him with the DRS and the slip-stream of course.
“There was a little jink right and left from Bottas, and at that point Russell has wandered onto the grass, the wet grass of course.
“George is going to say, ‘you veered right while I was alongside you and put me on the grass’.”
The collision is currently being investigated by the FIA, and it remains to be seen whether either driver will face any sort of punishment in the immediate aftermath.