George Russell admits to being a ‘bit of a d***’ after Valtteri Bottas crash at Imola

George Russell admits to being a ‘bit of a d***’ after Valtteri Bottas crash at Imola
Russell and Bottas exchanged words after the high-speed collision at last season’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

George Russell says he regrets his argument with Valtteri Bottas after the pair’s high-speed crash at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola last season, admitting that the exchange made him look like “a bit of a d***”.

Russell, who was driving for Williams, collided with Bottas after trying to pass the Mercedes on the outside of the long straight in wet conditions at Imola. Russell accused Bottas of pushing him onto the grass verge before losing control of his car and crashing into the Finn, sending both drivers into the wall.

The pair were unharmed after the crash, which caused a 23-minute red flag stoppage, and Russell then confronted Bottas while he remained in his car, slapping his helmet before Bottas replied with a middle finger.

Over this team radio, Russell also fumed: “What the f*** was he doing? Honestly. Is he a f***ing p***k or what?”. The exchange was also captured in the latest season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive, where Russell was also shown calling Bottas a “c***”.

There was further tension behind the argument as Russell was rumoured to be a contender for Bottas’ seat at Mercedes, a move that was then confirmed later in the season.

Reflecting on the incident almost a year after the 200mph crash, Russell told GQ: “I made myself look a bit of a d***. If I look back on how I handled that, I’d probably laugh at myself and say, ‘What were you doing?’

“I just looked like an idiot, like I’d lost the plot. And to be honest, for a second, I probably did lose the plot.”

Russell is now team-mates with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes after making the step up from Williams at the end of last season. The 24-year-old finished fourth at last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after benefitting from the double retirement of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but has admitted that Mercedes face a number of performance-related issues that could see the team struggle to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull over the early weeks of the campaign.