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George Russell appears to slap Valtteri Bottas on helmet after high-speed crash

Philip Duncan
·2 min read
Williams driver George Russell of Britain attends a press conference ahead of Sunday's Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix, at the Imola track, Italy, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Xpbimages/Pool via AP)
Williams driver George Russell of Britain attends a press conference ahead of Sunday's Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix, at the Imola track, Italy, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Xpbimages/Pool via AP)

British driver George Russell appeared to slap Valtteri Bottas on the helmet after their high-speed crash at Sunday’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Russell was attempting to pass Bottas around the outside of the Finn’s Mercedes on the 200mph run down to the opening corner in Imola.

But the Williams driver dipped his front-right tyre on to the damp grass, causing him to lose control of his Williams and crash into Bottas.

Both drivers ended up in the wall with significant damage sustained to their respective cars.

Russell said over the radio: “What the f*** was he doing? Honestly. Is he a f****** p***k or what?”

Russell, a member of the Mercedes junior academy and hopeful of a promotion from Williams to the world champions, left the cockpit of his damaged machine, before heading over to confront Bottas.

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Russell leaned into Bottas’s car and hit the Finn on his helmet with Bottas gesticulating back at the Williams driver.

Russell later tweeted: "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."

The race was stopped on lap 34 of 63 to clean up the debris from the crash.

The flashpoint took place just moments after Lewis Hamilton slipped from second to ninth after running off the road at turn 7 and damaging his front wing.

The world champion stopped for repairs but emerged from the pits way down the order with Max Verstappen leading.