The Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he believes it’s “bulls**t” that George Russell would suggest Valtteri Bottas wouldn’t have collided “if it was another driver” after the pair tangled in Imola, saying he has “a lot to learn”.
Russell, a Mercedes junior driver, collided with Bottas on lap 32, moments after Lewis Hamilton had his own trip through the gravel, in a rain-affected Emilia Romagna GP won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Russell and Bottas seemed to have a heated exchange at the side of the track, with both blaming one and another for the incident after the race.
And Wolff was left perplexed as to why the collision even happened, considering both are Mercedes backed drivers.
“The whole situation should have never happened,” Wolff said.
“Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps, and shouldn’t have been there. But George should have never launched into this manoeuvre, considering that the track was drying up.
George Russell explains Valtteri Bottas collision
“I was probably going 30mph quicker than him and about to overtake him, and perhaps if it were another driver he wouldn’t have done that.”
However Wolff said the suggestion was “bulls**t”, when asked by motorsport.com.
“The whole situation is absolutely not amusing for us, to be honest,” Wolff said.
“It’s quite a big shunt. Our car is almost a write-off in a cost-cap environment that is certainly what we needed, and probably it’s going to limit upgrades that we’re able to do.
“Simply the fact that we ended there by losing it in the wet, because there was no contact, losing it on the wet, and making both cars crash out is not what I expect to see.”
Russell has been part of the Mercedes family since 2017, and was even promoted to the top team last season at the Sakhir Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton was out from COVID-19.
“You need to see that there is a Mercedes and it is wet, it bears a certain risk to overtake,” Wolff continued.
“And the odds are against him anyway when the track is drying up. Now I don’t want him to try to prove anything to us, because one thing I can say since knowing Valtteri for five years, he’s not trying to prove anything.”