Mercedes chief Toto Wolff ‘had words’ with George Russell after Valtteri Bottas crash

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George Russell has been reflecting further on his incident last time out, which saw the Williams driver crash heavily with a Mercedes in Imola, admitting the team principal Toto Wolff ‘had words’ with him after.

Russell and Valtteri Bottas were left fuming at each other after a huge crash at Tamburello as the Mercedes driver defended his line into the corner.

The two touched and were sent spinning into the barriers, ruining the race for both drivers, with the pair blaming each other (just to avoid using both twice in the same sentence) driver for the shunt.

However, the nature of the accident, what with Russell being a Mercedes Junior driver, has made for an interesting sub-plot to the season, one which team principal Toto Wolff could probably do without.

When asked during the press conference ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix if Wolff had spoken to him, Russell replied: “Yeah of course, we have spoken extensively since the incident, but the contents of that will remain private, but you know – he’s been very supportive and very constructive.

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“Our relationship has not been damaged at all following the incident, if anything quite the opposite.

“Likewise everybody at Williams, they’ve been incredibly supportive, they want me to attack, go for opportunities, we were proud to have been in that position.

“We were in tenth position and fighting for position on merit.

“We’ve got to be proud of the progress.”

Russell, who impressed in 2020 in a Mercedes seat sitting in for Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix, reflected on the aftermath of the incident, and how he could have maybe done things a little differently.

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Wolff was left less than amused at both the crash and the subsequent comments from the pair and declared that Russell has ‘a lot to learn’, something the 23-year-old admits he’s been working on.

He added: “I think having had a week, even an evening, to let the emotions calm down, reflect on everything.

“I think the incident is one thing, it’s part of racing, and these things do happen. I think the actions I added afterwards were not my true self.

“I sort of went against my own instincts to walk away, and sort of show a bit of emotion, which was probably a very poor judgement call in the heat of the moment, which led on to a few more things later that afternoon.

“That’s why I felt it was necessary for me to put that out on Monday morning to apologise for my actions.

“I do want to lead by example, I do want to be a role model and those actions after the incident were not leading by example.”

Bottas was arguably a driver out of position as the two battled it out for ninth, and Russell was a driver that was excelling ahead of the 200mph crash at the Emilia Romagna GP, however both will need to make up for lost ground covered this weekend at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Both are desperate for points this season – and are also potentially squabbling for the Mercedes seat in 2022.

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