George Russell says he asked Valtteri Bottas if he was “trying to kill us both” in their huge crash that red-flagged Formula 1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Williams driver was attempting to make a move on Bottas for ninth place as the track began to dry when a slight jolt from Bottas appeared to catch Russell out, causing him to lose control of his car and collide with Bottas.

Having tangled, Bottas and Russell’s cars were sent spearing into a violent impact with the barriers on the left-hand side of the track, before being fired across the track and ending up in the wall at the Tamburello chicane.

Both drivers emerged from the incident unscathed but the race had to be suspended to clear up huge amounts of debris strewn across the track.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Russell gave his take on the crash, saying: “I was closing on Valtteri massively fast. I had the slipsteam, I had the DRS.

“Just as I pulled out he jolted very, very slightly to the right, which is a tactical defence that drivers of the past used to do. The sort of Verstappen move of 2015.

“There’s a gentleman’s agreement that that is not what you do because it’s incredibly dangerous. In completely dry conditions I would have been fine but it just put me onto the wet patch and I lost it.

“An unfortunate incident but we are going at 200mph you need to respect the speed and the conditions. So, one of those things.”

Russell was seen going over to Bottas’ stricken Mercedes to make his feelings about the incident clear as the pair appeared to engage in an argument.

Bottas, who felt the incident was “completely” Russell’s fault, showed the Williams driver the middle finger to which Russell responded by slapping Bottas on the side of the helmet before walking away.

Asked what he had said to Bottas, Russell replied: “I asked him if he was trying to kill us both.

“We’re going incredibly fast, we know the conditions. In his eyes he’s not really fighting for anything, a P9 for him is nothing, but for us it’s everything.

“I’m going for absolutely everything, the move would have been absolutely easy. There was absolutely no reason to jolt like that.

“It’s a gentleman’s agreement between the drivers because we’ve always said it will cause a massive collision one day and here we are.”

Russell added that he expected to have a proper conversation with Bottas after the race once the adrenaline and emotion had settled.

“We’re both grown men, we’ll have a conversation and talk about it, let the heat die down a bit,” he explained.

“I’m sure he’s upset and frustrated with me as I am with him. The faintest of movements when you’re travelling at 200mph is actually quite a massive thing.

“Moreso it’s not just the speed, it’s the speed difference, I was probably doing 30mph quicker than him and about to overtake him. Perhaps if it was another driver he wouldn’t have done that."

 

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