Russell reveals Toto Wolff’s reaction to his 2021 crash with Bottas

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

George Russell reveals he was flying home with Toto Wolff after his 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix crash with Valtteri Bottas.

At the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, George Russell and Valtteri Bottas were involved in a controversial collision, after the Briton lost control of his Williams on the wet track.

The collision put both drivers our of the race, and in the immediate aftermath harsh words were exchanged between them. At first Russell believed Bottas was at fault, but he later conceded he was the one who caused the crash.

Since George was a Mercedes junior driver at the time, and Bottas was a Mercedes driver, the Briton’s behaviour was heavily criticised by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. George now says he has learned from the whole experience.

“It didn’t even really cross my mind that it was Valtteri and a Mercedes, it was an opening to score points for myself and for my team,” the Briton said on the High Perfomance Podcast.

“I was furious with Valtteri, which was probably not the right thing to do. That was an opportunity that I saw, that has now just disappeared.

“It wasn’t that I’ve just crashed into Valtteri or a Mercedes. It’s points we [Williams] have lost, and I thought he’d lost them for us.

“That was probably also a lesson for me that you need to look at the overall picture from other people’s view before taking a snap judgement.

If you like SilverArrows.Net, consider supporting us by buying us a coffee!

“I was very hot-headed and went over, he was also hot-headed, middle fingers were flying and the ‘F’ and the ‘C’ words were being thrown around, and it was not a very pleasant situation.

“That was also a really good learning [moment] for me – you need to take a moment to think about it before [making] snap judgments.”

George then revealed he was flying home with Toto after the incident, which made the whole situation even more awkward.

“I was flying home with Toto that evening, that was always the case. So, the one flight that I take with him a year, it was that that one!

“He was very upset with the situation and also pretty angry because that was the very first year of this new financial cost cap that have been implemented.

“The damage that occurred and that incident for Mercedes was I think one and a half million dollars, so that’s one and a half million dollars taken away from the overall budget.

“So, he was obviously very upset and frustrated about that. It was all just a messy, not a good situation.

“We left it for the following day and then I went around his house for lunch on Saturday, and everything was no problem at all, and we moved on from it.”

Ultimately, George says the whole experience strengthened his relationship with his future team.

“I feel that in situations like that… You almost grow together, it sort of pulls you closer and, as it happened, I probably built a closer relationship with Valtteri’s group of engineers and team, because I knew them already.

“It was the chief mechanic and chief engineer for him. I spoke to them both: ‘Really sorry for how that panned out’, and they said, ‘don’t worry about it’.

“Obviously a strange dynamic. I’m a Williams driver crashing into a Mercedes driver, and then I’m on the phone to the Mercedes team saying, ‘I’m sorry for how that panned out’.

“But I feel I’m almost glad for that crash, because I feel [I’m] better for it. I feel a more rounded person. I see things maybe slightly differently.

“These moments in life, I guess, mature you. There’s no perfect moments and you need mistakes,” Russell concluded.

Follow us on Twitter @SilverArrowsNet and like us on Facebook!

Comments are closed.