Hamilton offers words of support for Russell

Michelle Foster
George Russell

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing

Not for the first time, Lewis Hamilton has offered words of encouragement for George Russell following the Williams driver’s heartfelt apology for his Imola crash.

Russell took out himself and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas when he tried to pass the Finn down the main straight, got it slightly wrong and crashed into Bottas.

Both drivers were out in the high-speed crash with Russell quickly over to Bottas to confront him.

Bottas responded by giving the Williams driver the middle finger with Russell then slapping at him.

As to be expected both drivers blamed the other in the immediate aftermath although 24 hours later it was Russell who took to social media to apologise for his behaviour.

“Yesterday wasn’t my proudest day,” he wrote on Monday.

“I knew it would be one of our best opportunities to score points this season and, when those points matter as much as they do to us right now, sometimes you take risks. It didn’t pay off and I have to take responsibility for that.

“Having had time to reflect on what happened afterwards, I know I should have handled the whole situation better. Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me.

“I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect more from me.

“I’ve learned some tough lessons this weekend and will come out of this a better driver and a better person for the experience.

Hamilton was quick to show his compatriot, who could yet be his 2022 Mercedes team-mate if Toto Wolff doesn’t send him to the ‘Renault Clio Cup’, his support.

“Strength comes from vulnerability,” he said in response to Russell’s message.

“If you don’t make the mistakes you will never learn the lesson. Respect for taking responsibility.

“On to the next one.”

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Hamilton’s response comes in the wake of a rumour that he and Russell were no longer speaking about the latter’s stellar display at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

Called up to replace Hamilton after he tested positive for Covid-19, Russell qualified P2 on his Mercedes debut and was in line to win the grand prix before Mercedes let him down in the pit stops.

Rumours emerged claiming the two didn’t speak after that with Wolff saying he would understand if Hamilton felt threatened by Russell.

Russell denied a rift, saying: “My relationship towards Lewis is the same as it is with a lot of the drivers around the paddock, which is completely fine.

“There are no hard feelings or no issues between myself and Lewis.”

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