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George Russell

Russell backtracks on Imola crash: Bottas was entitled to defend

George Russell was involved in a heated exchange with Valtteri Bottas after the two drivers collided at over 200mph in yesterday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. While the Williams driver initially blamed Bottas for the incident, he has since softened his stance.

George Russell has taken a more balanced view of his crash with Valtteri Bottas at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after initially blaming the Mercedes driver for the incident which saw the pair collide at over 200mph as he attempted an overtake for P9.

Russell criticised Bottas for forcing him onto the damp part of the track as he went to pass, which caused his car to spin into the Mercedes and took both drivers out of the race.

However, he subsequently toned down his stance saying that the Finn was “in his right” to defend the position.

"I think it was a very unfortunate incident. I think it could have been avoided. Valtteri was defending hard, and he is in his right to do so," he told RacingNews365.com and select members of the press.

"The track was going left, he was going straight. And it seemed much clearer on the CCTV footage that we saw. But like I said, he is entitled to do that, but in these conditions with one dry line, it only had one outcome. That was unfortunate."

Russell said that Bottas’ actions were within the rules, but that the collision was avoidable and there could have been more recognition from the Mercedes driver of the speed they were going and for the wet conditions on the circuit.

"His manoeuvre was within the rules and within his right, but it could have been avoided and there should have been a bit more respect for the speed and the conditions, in my opinion."

He added there was no bad blood between the drivers after his angry reaction on track following the incident, which caused red flags to be brought out and the race halted for a period.

"There’s no tension at all between Valtteri and I. You can take that comment as you wish really, I think it was pretty clear how it was intended. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe he is just fighting for absolutely every position, and as I said he is in his right to do so," he said.

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