Lewis Hamilton has taken to social media again to send words of encouragement to one of the young drivers on the grid, this time George Russell – who had a huge collision with Hamilton’s team-mate during the Emilia Romagna GP.
The two collided on lap 32 on the approach to Tamburello, with both cars spinning into the barriers, leaving a trail of debris bringing out the red flag. Immediately after, Russell was seen climbing out of the car and stomping over to Bottas, gesturing furiously. The Finn gestured back with a middle finger, as the Brit stormed off.
Afterwards, when asked what was said, Russell told Sky Sports F1: “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 the move. The move would’ve been absolutely easy, he had no reason to jolt like that.
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“It’s a gentlemen’s agreement between the drivers, we’ve always said it’s going to cause a massive collision one day. And here we are.”
At the time, both drivers were fiercely blaming one and another for the shunt, which the stewards deemed as a racing incident, with Bottas adding: “I’ve seen the replay and there was definitely space for two cars all the time, so I don’t know, he was trying to say something but it was completely his fault so quite disappointing.”
However, now the heat of the weekend has died down, Russell has sent an apology – 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.
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“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.”
The 21-year-old took to Instagram to apologise to the team.
“Inches away from P3. My mistake,” he said.
“I misjudged it and the time was deleted. Sorry to everyone at McLaren, I effed up, you deserve better today.”
Hamilton, who started his career at McLaren and won two of his seven world titles alongside the woking-based team, replied: “Nobody can knock you for giving it your all.
“Amazing lap, it’s great to see you and the team shine. Move on, let’s race.”