Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has sent Williams driver George Russell a message of encouragement following his race-ending crash at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

For the second year running at Imola, Russell lost the opportunity to score his first points for Williams after being involved in a violent high-speed accident with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas while fighting over ninth place in Sunday’s race.

Russell and Bottas initially blamed each other for the crash, before the Briton issued a public apology to the Mercedes driver on Monday, acknowledging that he should have “handled the whole situation better”.

“Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me,” Russell added.

“I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect more from me.

“I’ve learned some tough lessons this weekend and will come out of this a better driver and a better person for the experience. Now it’s full focus on Portugal and a chance to show what I’m really about. Thanks for all the messages, both positive and negative. They will all help me to grow.”

Commenting on Russell’s Instagram post, seven-time world champion Hamilton offered his support to his young compatriot.

“Strength comes from vulnerability,” Hamilton wrote. "If you don’t make the mistake you can never learn the lesson. Respect for taking responsibility. On to the next one.”

It is the second time in two days that Hamilton has spoke up for one of his fellow racers, having sent reassuring words to Lando Norris after the McLaren driver lost his career-best qualifying result due to a track limits infringement.

Norris went on to secure his second podium finish in F1 in Sunday's race, finishing one place behind Hamilton in third. 

 

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