Bottas and Russell clashed as they contested for ninth place in Sunday’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, the severity of their crash resulting in a red flag.
Both drivers were quick to blame each other for causing the crash that left Bottas’ Mercedes car with a significant amount of damage that could limit the team’s upgrade plans for the rest of the season. year.
Russell claimed immediately after the incident that Bottas had broken a gentleman’s agreement between the pilots.
“Among all the drivers, we’ve had this gentleman’s agreement that when there’s a faster car coming up with the DRS, you don’t shake the wheel at the very last moment,” said Russell, comparing the movement to the actions of Max Verstappen under braking in 2015 which led to a rewrite of the rules.
“It’s the smallest of movements, but when you’re going 220 km / h and you’re going faster than the car in front of you, it’s huge.”
Marshals clear damaged car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, from gravel trap
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Russell has since apologized to Bottas for his reaction to the incident, taking responsibility for the collision that left Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saying the young Briton had “a lot to learn”.
Asked by Autosport if he had broken a gentleman’s agreement, Bottas replied: “No, I don’t see it that way at all.
“I didn’t make any sudden movements. I think it’s pretty clear from the sound on board too, I always left some space.
“No, on my side, it was clean. And of course, I defend, I will not make room for him. But also when I run, I have respect. So I see things differently from him. “
The investigating commissioners confirmed that Bottas did not change course at all as he approached Turn 2, considering the collision to be a racing incident.
Bottas said he could have been “a lot more aggressive” defending the position, and Russell should have been aware that the outside line would have been still wet.
“He knew it was going to be wet there, because we went lap after lap,” Bottas said.
“I knew that too, and it just wasn’t a place to go in these conditions on slicks. But he’s always been there.
“It was his choice to go, I was doing my job trying to defend, and I’m not going to walk away and give him the patch dry.” This is how it goes.