Russell says relations with Wolff undamaged by Imola crash
Williams driver George Russell said his relationship with Mercedes Formula One boss Toto Wolff remained strong despite a costly collision with Valtteri Bottas at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Briton is a Mercedes protégé, racing for a team using Mercedes engines, and the high-speed crash with the Mercedes driver put both men out of the race and wrecked their cars.
Russell, who filled in for seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton to considerable acclaim in Bahrain last year after his compatriot contracted Covid-19, has apologised for his angry reaction afterwards.
He told reporters at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Thursday that the incident was a part of racing but he had made a “very poor judgement call” in confronting Bottas and suggesting the Finn had tried to kill them both.
“Toto and I have spoken extensively since the incident but the contents of that will remain private,” he said.
“He's been very supportive, very constructive. Our relationship has not been damaged at all after the incident, if anything quite the opposite.
“And likewise with everybody at Williams. They have been incredibly supportive, they want me to attack, go for opportunities. We're proud to have been in that position. We were in 10th position, fighting for points on merit.”
Williams have scored only one point since 2018 but Russell was trying to overtake Bottas – whose seat he could take next year – on a slippery track for ninth place.
Wolff, while strongly critical of Russell's judgement, has also said Bottas should not have been so far down the field.
Russell said there had been no rules of engagement laid down for future races but “just a bit more common sense” was needed.
“If we find ourselves fighting a Mercedes again we'll be doing a very good job ... so hopefully we do find ourselves in that circumstance,” he added.
“I'm here because of Mercedes, they got me through the junior ranks, they really helped me into Formula One and as a consequence they are a family to me as Williams are a family to me.
“Lewis and Valtteri are team mates to me as Nicholas (Latifi) is a team mate to me. Number one rule as a racing driver is you don't clash with your team mates. That's behind us now, you live and learn and we'll move on.”