Valtteri Bottas says George Russell has come up with “quite a theory” in his stance that the Finn might have avoided their huge Emilia Romagna Grand Prix crash if it was another Formula 1 driver.

Williams driver and Mercedes junior Russell speared into the side of Bottas having lost control of his car as he dipped a wheel onto the grass when attempting to pull off a move to take ninth place away from Bottas, resulting in a massive high-speed shunt between the pair. 

Both drivers emerged from their wrecked cars unscathed but Russell was left furious and claimed that Bottas had squeezed him unnecessarily, going as far as to suggest the Mercedes driver could have done more to avoid the accident.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff labelled Russell’s claim “bullshit”, while Bottas also rejected the Briton’s accusation, insisting he has “respect” while racing.

Asked about Russell’s comments, Bottas replied: “Sorry, I lost my aluminium foil hat somewhere. It's quite a theory.

"I'm always going to defend to any driver, I'm not keen to lose any positions. That was normal defending, it could have been a lot more aggressive if needed.

"I don't agree with any of that at all. I was doing my thing. No matter who I would have been defending, it would have been exactly the same.

"Obviously he knew exactly that it was going to be damp there, because we have gone there lap after lap. And I knew as well, and it was just not a place to go in those conditions on slicks.

"But he still went there. It was his choice to go there, I was doing my job trying to defend, and I'm not going to move away and give him the dry patch back. That's how it goes.”

In a later media session conducted after his initial interview with Sky, Russell appeared to soften his stance over the collision after watching new footage of the incident, including what CCTV captured.

“When you can review everything and look at it in slow motion and everything, and from certain camera angles, it all looks very, very different,” Russell explained.

“One camera angle makes it look one way, another camera angle, like I said, when you watch it from behind on the CCTV footage it looked quite clear, in a different opinion.”

Russell added: “Could it have been avoided? Yes. Was Valtteri in the wrong? Probably not.

“Could he have done something slightly more? Maybe. Was I in the wrong? I caused the crash by spinning, but was I wrong to go for that overtake? Absolutely not. You would have been foolish to lift at that position.”