F1 world split over who is to blame for ugly Mercedes crash

The 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has left a bitter stain on Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas and junior driver George Russell getting into a horrific crash, before blaming each other for the smash.

While Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his first win in Italy and Lewis Hamilton pulled off an epic comeback for second, the race will be remembered for a horror crash.

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On lap 32 of the race, straight after Hamilton drove off the track after making a rare mistake, Bottas and Russell collided in an ugly high-speed crash at one of the fastest sections of the track.

Bottas was in front at the time with Russell in his Williams coming up on the outside.

The immediate vision looked like Russell touched the wet grass on the outside of the track and lost traction, slamming into the side of Bottas.

But on Sky Sports, the commentators also pointed to a slight movement from Bottas as “spooking” Russell as he came to the corner.

While both drivers appeared uninjured, it didn’t take long for the accusations to start flying.

Immediately, both drivers checked in with their teams.

“What the f***,” Bottas said.

“Are you OK?” the engineer said.


Russell reacts as Bottas flips him the bird.Source:FOX SPORTS

But Russell was also furious, cursing Bottas out to his team.

“What the f*** was he doing? Is he a **** **** or what?”

Russell was the first out of his car and made his way over to Bottas with the Fin flipping his middle finger at the British youngster.

Valtteri Bottas gave George Russell the finger when both drivers got into it after an early wreck 👀🖕#ImoraGP#F1pic.twitter.com/ctV6gN99qz

Russell responded by hitting Bottas’ helmet and storming off.

Russell later took to Twitter to lament the incident.

Thanks for all the messages. I'm fine, just disappointed. 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.

While the incident was also referred to the stewards, the war of words broke out on TV cameras as well.

‘Trying to kill us both’: Russell fumes

Both cars will need plenty of repairs.Source:FOX SPORTS

Speaking to Sky Sports, Russell was clearly still angry about the incident, blaming Bottas for a small movement as the Williams driver was trying to overtake.

“I was coming up to Valtteri massively fast. I had the slipstream. I had the DRS,” he said.

“And just as I pulled out, he jolted very, very slightly to the right – which is a tactical defence that drivers in the past used to do. It was sort of the Verstappen move of 2015.

“There is a gentlemen’s agreement that that is not what you do because it is incredibly dangerous. In completely dry conditions I would have been fine, but it put me onto the wet patch and I lost it.

“An unfortunate incident, but we’re going at 200mph. You need to respect the speed and the conditions.”

Russell then approached Bottas with the pair exchanging words with the Brit revealing he asked Bottas “if he was trying to kill us both”.

“In his eyes, he’s not really fighting for anything,” Russell added. “A P9 for him is nothing, but for us it’s everything. I’m going for the move, the move would have been absolutely easy and there’s absolutely no reason to jolt like that.

“Like I said, it’s a gentlemen’s agreement between the drivers, we’ve always said it’s going to cause a massive collision one day. And here we are.”

Bottas: ‘Completely his fault’

Valtteri Bottas was checked out by doctors after the crash but cleared.Source:FOX SPORTS

Bottas had a different view. “It was quite a big one, at high speed,” he told Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham. “It could have been a lot worse. But I’m OK.”

Bottas said he was struggling to warm his tyres up.

“He obviously went for an overtake in a place where there’s pretty much only one dry line,” Bottas said.

“I’ve seen the replay and there was definitely space for two cars all the time. I don’t know what he was on about when he was trying to say something but it was completely his fault. So yeah, quite disappointing.”

Bottas also said he didn’t hear what Russell had said, but certainly reacted, flipping Russell the bird.

Mercedes boss says blame ‘60-40’

Toto Wolff said the Mercedes was basically a write off.Source:FOX SPORTS

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was far from happy with the incident but said both men had to share the blame.

“It was a bad shunt,” he told Sky Sports “There wasn’t a lot of friendly exchanges between the two of them, but we need to look at it again because it takes two to tango.

“Maybe it’s not a 50-50, maybe it’s a 60-40 … but I wouldn’t know in which direction.”

Asked if he’d speak to Russell, Wolff said: “I haven’t seen George yet.”

There might be good reason for that.

In another interview, Wolff scolded Russell for his overtake attempt.

“The whole situation should have never happened,” Motorsport.com reported Wolff saying. “Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps, and shouldn’t have been there. But George should have never launched into this manoeuvre, considering that the track was drying up.

“It meant taking risks, and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him. In any driver’s development, for a young driver, you must never lose this global perspective.

“So yeah, lots to learn for him I guess.”

Similarly, social media was split on who was at fault.

I would have to agree with #damonhill here. What happened with #Russel and #Bottas was a genuine racing incident. Yes, one could assign blame but the fact this isn't flying kites. It's racing. S*** happens. #Imola#ImolaGP#weraceasone

Bottas’ collision with Russell helped Hamilton. What a wild race. #ImolaGP

The most amount of blame I can put to Bottas is that he shouldn't have been in a position where he was racing a Williams in the first place! Otherwise, sadly, it's Russell to blame.

For the record I do not think this accident would happen without DRS closing speeds, Russell was 100% committed, and Bottas was following the line, I do not think you can firmly lay the blame on either driver 🤔 #ImolaGP#F1https://t.co/cMeRfrpviA

For me Bottas moved. It was just a bit but at that speed and with not much space, it put Russell on the wet. Was probably unconscious and more a race at driver twitch, but I’d still say it was Bottas at fault. #F1

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