Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell has finally apologised to Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas after initially expressing his anger following their collision at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola last Sunday.
Russell lost control of his car while attempting an overtaking manoeuvre on the Mercedes. He torpedoed straight into Bottas at high speed, resulting in a massive crash that led to a red flag. What was even more disturbing was the was Russell got out of his car and walked over to give Bottas a piece of his mind as the latter sat shaken in his cockpit.
Bottas did not appreciate the gesture and the unpleasant exchange ended with Russell appearing to slap the top of Bottas' helmet after the Finn gave him the finger. After the race, Russell took to Twitter to share his thoughts, which still reflected his ill feeling towards the Mercedes driver.
Russell event went so far as to say that Bottas was extra aggressive towards him and would not have done the same against another driver. It may be remembered that Russell is part of the Mercedes development program and is managed by team principal Toto Wolff.
He may have hurt his chances of challenging Bottas for the Mercedes seat after Wolff himself called foul on Russell's comments.
Following the backlash, Russell has issued an apology and admitted that his emotions got the better of him.
"It's in my intention to clear the air with him, I'm sure we'll have a phone call with him this week to put it behind us and move on." he also said in an interview.
"My anger towards him at the time was more that I thought he put us both in harm's way and it was an incredibly scary incident at that speed. Fortunately we both walked away with it without battle scars but obviously it could have been very different."
In the Twitter statement, Russell apologised to Bottas, his team and everyone who was disappointed by his behaviour. Fans from across the globe were quick to criticise his actions especially what he did on-track right after the shunt. The biggest issue however, is how much the incident may have jeopardised his future with Mercedes. Wolff isn't pleased, and Russell will now have to work hard to get in his good graces.