Formula 1 journalist Will Buxton has fired back at some of the fans who dug up George Russell’s comments at last year’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix following his crash with Valtteri Bottas.
The Briton joined Mercedes from Williams over the winter to replace the Alfa Romeo-bound 32-year-old, and they spent much of last year in competition for the second seat at Mercedes alongside Sir Lewis Hamilton.
It culminated in a nasty collision just two races into 2021 in Imola when the pair were fighting for ninth place.
Russell attempted to pass Bottas on the outside going into Turn Two in wet conditions, but put a wheel on the white line and span into the sidepod of the Finn, putting them both out of the race in dramatic fashion.
The 24-year-old ran over to the stricken Mercedes car to gesticulate his frustration towards Bottas, but Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff pinned the blame on his now current driver, saying that his driving was worthy of the “Renault Clio Cup.”
Russell noted after the race that, in what was the outright quickest car last season, Bottas should not have been fighting for ninth on merit.
“For him, he’s fighting for ninth position, which for a Mercedes driver is nothing. He needs to be fighting for victories and podiums every single race,” he said.
“A move like this is like he is fighting for the last lap of the world championship, not for P9.”
In qualifying in Bahrain though, the Briton himself qualified ninth, around a second adrift of fifth-placed team-mate Hamilton, and seven tenths of a second behind Bottas, who qualified P6.
As a result, fans pointed to the new Mercedes man’s remarks in Italy last season, but Buxton was having none of it.
“Seen a lot of people pulling out that post Imola ‘21 George quote about a Merc in P9. It’s a cheap, lazy shot,” he tweeted.
Continuing the thread, the 41-year-old is utterly riveted by the prodigious auspicious-looking level of competition under the all-new technical regulations.
“So many positives to digest and discuss. Ferrari. Alfa and Bottas. Haas. Alpine. Albon’s huge laps in a car that looked destined for P19 at best. And a proper fight at the front. Great times,” he added.