George Russell was responsible for the high-speed crash he had with Valtteri Bottas during Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, according to former F1 racer Jolyon Palmer.
The pair were fighting for P9 for several laps, and Russell eventually got a run on Bottas as they approached the Tamburello chicane, but he lost control of his Williams and triggered a multi-impact crash with the Mercedes and the barriers.
Russell immediately walked over to Bottas and slapped his helmet, and he later revealed that he had asked the Finn “if he was trying to kill us both.”
Palmer has said he believes Russell was at fault and his actions after the race were an attempt to “deflect attention” from his mistake.
“It’s Russell to blame really for this one, although I’m calling it a racing incident because of the difficult circumstances,” Palmer said on the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“It’s so tough when you’re at nearly 200mph, you’re finding a really narrow gap to try and overtake someone on the outside when there’s damp around and low grip.
“All the remonstrations and the anger, I think if he didn’t do that, if Russell didn’t go over and start pointing the finger so aggressively at Bottas, I think everyone would just say ‘Russell’s lost control of the car and crashed.’
“I think pointing the finger almost deflects the attention a little bit, and then he will have watched the replay and I don’t really think he’s believing what he’s saying as he’s saying it in that interview.
“My feeling is he’ll have watched it and thought, ‘actually, I was pretty hard on Valtteri when he was off in the gravel’, came marching up, said whatever he said and Valtteri didn’t hear, but he made his anger absolutely clear.
“In the moment, you think you’ve been dealt a gross injustice and someone else has done a hideous bit of driving and then you see it and you’re like ‘ooh, maybe that was on me.’
“I think it’s all a bit muddled, his explanation in the end,” he added.
Continuing, Palmer said there is no denying that Bottas was having a “horrible” race even prior to the crash, and he believes things will be awkward between Russell and the Finn following the incident.
“Bottas had a horrible race – to be in a position where he could be passed by a Williams isn’t great.
“When you see Russell absolutely stomping furious, I thought ‘I can’t wait for this replay as Bottas must have done something awful.’
“But we cut to it and I thought ‘I don’t know what he’s done wrong here’. Russell has just misjudged it, if we’re brutally honest, and it’s just a bit awkward between them now.”