No lasting tension between Bottas & Russell after Imola crash

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Valtteri Bottas and George Russell expect no lasting tension between them following their big crash at Imola.

As the Finn struggled for pace in the changing conditions, the Williams driver attempted a move on the main straight only to lose control on a wet patch and slam into the Mercedes at over 300kph.

While the stewards declared the accident a racing incident, fallout from the crash has continued, particularly given Russell is thought to be first in line to replace Bottas next season.

And Valtteri was pretty dismissive about their relationship.

“I’ve never really worked that closely with him, obviously he’s been around for some time because he’s been the reserve driver and done some testing for the team," he told ESPN.

“I know him a little bit, but there have never been any issues.

“In terms of this one, obviously I was not happy with how it ended up, but I’m an easygoing guy, so there are no problems.

“I can’t say I’m friends with him like I can’t say I’m friends with most or any of the drivers really.

“But from my side, no issues but today was not ideal because he made me lose a good chunk of points potentially today and it was his mistake.”

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In his post-race comments, Russell had suggested Bottas was more aggressive in defence upon realising it was George trying to overtake him.

But he denied that was a sign of animosity. 

“There is no tension at all between Valtteri and me," he said. "Obviously you can take my comment as you wish. I think it was pretty clear how it was intended.

“But maybe I was wrong. Maybe he’s just fighting for absolutely every position.

“Valtteri and I will talk and we will clear the air. I’ve got no intention to hold any grudges or have any bad relationship with any driver on the grid.”


The man making the most noise after the race was Toto Wolff, who slammed Russell for not seeing the bigger picture, basically questioning why he was trying to overtake a Mercedes in the first place.

And that drew a strong response from the outspoken Jacques Villeneuve.

“I don’t quite understand Toto Wolff. Why does he blame the young Brit Russell in the collision with Bottas," he told

“Bottas knew that his potential successor was about to overtake him and risked a serious accident with his slight move to the right. He mustn’t do that under these difficult track conditions.

“This shows how tense Bottas is already in the second race of the season, and that’s not going to get any better.

"He is simply too slow. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have had to defend his position so hard against a Williams.”