Valtteri Bottas is “too slow” and was at fault for the collision with George Russell at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, according to 1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Bottas and Mercedes protege and Williams driver George Russell suffered a massive race-ending crash when they tangled while battling over ninth place in Sunday’s second round of the season at Imola.

While both drivers initially blamed each other in the immediate aftermath of the huge shunt, the stewards decided it was ultimately a racing incident and took no further action.

SEE ALSO: Why Bottas ended miserable Imola F1 weekend defending from a Williams 

Post-race comments made by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff inferred that he felt Russell was more to blame for the collision, but Villeneuve disagrees and reckons Bottas is feeling the heat amid a poor start to the season with his contract due to expire at the end of the year

In an interview with F1-Insider, Villeneuve said: “I don’t quite understand Toto Wolff. Why does he blame the young Brit in the collision with Mercedes junior Russell?

“Bottas knew that his potential successor was about to overtake him and risked a serious accident with his slight move to the right. He mustn’t do that under these difficult track conditions.

“This shows how tensed Bottas is already in the second race of the season. And that’s not going to get any better. Because he is simply too slow. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have had to defend his position so hard against a Williams.”

And Villeneuve also believes that new Red Bull signing Sergio Perez will provide better support to Max Verstappen over the course of the season than Bottas can for Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

“Perez is the newcomer to the Red Bull team and yet is already stronger than Bottas, who is in his fifth season with Mercedes,” he added. “Perez can help Max more than Bottas can do for Hamilton.”

 

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