"Kamikaze" - Mercedes boss describes George Russell's 2021 Imola crash with Valtteri Bottas in Drive To Survive

George Russell (left) crashed violently with Valtteri Bottas (right) in Imola in 2021 (Photo by Laurent Charniaux - Pool/Getty Images)
George Russell (left) crashed violently with Valtteri Bottas (right) in Imola in 2021 (Photo by Laurent Charniaux - Pool/Getty Images)
A. Ayush Chatterjee

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff weighed in on George Russell's crash with Valtteri Bottas during the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in the recently released fourth season of Netflix's Drive To Survive.

The hit program showcases the inner workings of F1 with some creative liberties sprinkled in the middle. During the eighth episode of the latest season, Mercedes' Wolff was asked about the incident between the two drivers. He said:

“George [Russell] had an opportunity to overtake. I think it was a bit of a kamikaze project. Ending up in the wall with 50+ G is never nice. Valtteri [Bottas] could have been injured. With a young driver, you need to expect mistakes. But things that would be inexcusable are arrogance, a sense of entitlement and an approach of ‘it wasn’t my fault. It’s always someone else’s mistake’.”
VBritish F1 driver George Russell SLAPS Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas in angry confrontation and labels rival a 'f***ing p***k' after pair crash out of Emilia-Romagna Grand…

While the episode does show the aforementioned quote in this manner, it is possible that Wolff's remarks about the impact of the crash may have been taken from another incident later on in the season.

The episode mainly deals with the dilemma Mercedes had on their hands for the first part of 2021 with regards to deciding their line-up for the upcoming 2022 season.

In the end, Bottas was asked to make way for the next generation because that is something the Silver Arrows always had an eye on. During the same episode, Wolff said:

“With many young and upcoming drivers in the team, we have always looked into the future. That’s the nature of the game.”
the moment it happened 🤍

Later, when he confirmed the news to Russell, the Austrian said:

“The bad news is you’re driving against Lewis [Hamilton]. The good news is you’re in a Mercedes.”

George Russell keen to work together with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022

George Russell has confirmed he wants to work with and learn from his new teammate Lewis Hamilton as they embark on a new partnership at Mercedes.

The 24-year-old signed a massive $6.76 million deal to move from Williams at the end of the 2021 season to replace Finland's Valtteri Bottas.

During the digital launch event of the new Mercedes W13, the Briton was asked if he could match Lewis Hamilton's pace in the upcoming season. Russell said:

“It’s something I’ve not even thought about, to be honest, because my main goal is to make sure I have the teams and the car around me for developing the car in a quick direction to give us the best opportunity over the course of the next two, three, four years.”

He went on to add, saying:

“Lewis and I need to work together, we can’t focus too much on each other because things are constantly changing and that’s why we need to take a step back. We hope Mercedes will still be the fastest team, the fastest car on the grid but there are no guarantees and we need to not be naive to that and to work together to ensure we are.”

Since the launch and the first round of pre-season testing in Barcelona, the Silver Arrows have changed their car significantly. It remains to be seen how their no-sidepod approach fares once the season gets underway. The first Grand Prix of 2022 is slated for March 20.

Edited by Anurag C


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