Russell disputes he slapped Bottas after Imola crash

Date published: April 20 2021 - Mark Scott

George Russell Valtteri Bottas Imola

George Russell has disputed the use of the word ‘slap’ when people are describing the events of his dramatic crash with Valtteri Bottas at Imola.

The events of Sunday’s crazy race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix have started to sink in and a reflective Russell has already issued a heartfelt apology to Valtteri Bottas and his team for his actions and words ‘in the heat of the moment’.

After the high-speed crash involving the two rivals for a Mercedes seat in 2022, Russell hopped out of his car and proceeded to approach Bottas who was still sat in his absolutely wrecked W12.

Rather than check if he was ok after the hefty shunt, Russell confronted him. Bottas flipped him the bird and Russell responded with what many described as a slap to the Finn’s helmet.

However, Russell believes that word is too strong.

“Slap is a very strong word. It was nothing more than a brush,” Russell said, as quoted by ESPN.

“I doubt he even felt it. It was more of a ‘what are you doing?’

“I’m sure maybe a footballer would have reacted in a very different way but there was nothing menacing there, almost as if you’re throwing your arms in the air.”

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Russell is now keen to move on from the incident and will talk to Bottas and clear the air with him.

“Valtteri and I will talk afterwards and will clear the air,” he said.

“In the heat of the moment there is a lot of emotions, but I’ve got no intentions to hold any grudges or have any bad relationship with any driver on the grid.

“It’s in my intention to clear the air with him, I’m sure we’ll have a phone call with him this week to put it behind us and move on.

“We’re all racers, we’re all battling for position, and in the moment it is incredibly disappointing, sore, for all of us, and your heart stops for a moment when you crash at over 200mph. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.

“My anger towards him at the time was more because, I thought, he put us both in harm’s way and it was an incredibly scary incident at that speed.

“Fortunately, we both walked away without battle scars, but obviously it could have been very different.”

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