Valtteri Bottas believes George Russell was “clearly” to blame for their high-speed crash at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Starting P8, Bottas in fact found himself dropping back a place during the first half of the race, and on Lap 31 came under pressure from Russell.
But as Russell lined up an overtaking attempt on Bottas as they approached Tamburello, the pair would collide and hit the barriers at speed, making a mess of both the W12 and FW43B.
Replays showed that Bottas had not afforded Russell much room around the outside, with Russell believing the Finn was to blame. He made that clear when he jumped out of his stricken Williams and went over to give Bottas a slap on the helmet, to which the Finn returned the middle finger.
The race would be red flagged as a result of the crash, and Bottas was clear that he placed full blame on Russell for the scary accident.
“I could see him earlier on the straight, then I noticed that he moved to the right,” Bottas told reporters after the incident.
“From the replays I saw, I always left space for two cars to be there, but he obviously lost it and hit me, and that was game over.
“I don’t know what he was on about, because it was clearly his mistake.
“So I was not happy with him. But that’s how it is.”
Russell would take to social media after the crash, and although he had taken the time to calm down and collect his thoughts, he was still firmly of the belief that Bottas was to blame.
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.
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 18, 2021
“I’m fine, just disappointed. At the end of the day, it’s an unfortunate incident,” he wrote.
“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.”
Bottas and Russell made contact not long after Bottas’ team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton had slid into the gravel while trying to lap Russell.
The Briton would recover to finish the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix P2.