F1 star’s statement after dirty accusation
George Russell has backed down and admitted his own mistakes after launching a furious attack on Valtteri Bottas following the Italian Grand Prix on the weekend.
Russell, a Mercedes-contracted driver racing for Williams, and Silver Arrows star Bottas failed to finish after crashing on lap 32.
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Russell blamed Bottas for a late movement when he was trying to overtake, accusing the Finn of failing to respect "the speed and the conditions".
"I was coming up to Valtteri massively fast. I had the slipstream. I had the DRS," Russell said. "And just as I pulled out, he jolted very, very slightly to the right - which is a tactical defence that drivers in the past used to do. It was sort of the Verstappen move of 2015.
"There is a gentlemen's agreement that that is not what you do because it is incredibly dangerous. In completely dry conditions I would have been fine, but it put me onto the wet patch and I lost it.
"There's absolutely no reason to jolt like that."
Russell suggested Bottas "was trying to kill us both" while the Mercedes star defended himself, saying it was "completely his (Russell's) fault.
The British young gun was seeing red immediately after being robbed of the chance to score his first points of the season, but later cooled down and acknowledged the error of his ways in an apologetic post on social media.
"Yesterday wasn't my proudest day," Russell wrote. "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.
"Now it's full focus on Portugal and a chance to show what I'm really about. Thanks for all the messages, both positive and negative. They will all help me to grow."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Russell was in the wrong and should not have tried to overtake Bottas at that point, but seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was ready to forgive the 23-year-old.
"Strength comes from vulnerability," Hamilton wrote on Instagram in the comments section of Russell's post. "If you don't make the mistake you can never learn the lesson. Respect for taking responsibility. On to the next one."
Originally published as F1 star's statement after dirty accusation