GEORGE RUSSELL will make an apologetic phone call to Valtteri Bottas this week after their spectacular smash at Imola.
The Brit labelled Bottas a ‘f****** p****’ and questioned if the Finn was “trying to kill” him as they made contact at 200mph causing both cars to slam into the barriers.
Both drivers were unscathed, albeit shaken, but Russell, 23, was livid and angrily confronted Bottas, who flicked him the middle finger.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he would speak to both drivers, who are on the team’s payroll, with Russell now back-tracking on his original blast.
He said: “Valtteri and I will talk afterwards and we will clear the air. Obviously in the heat of the moment, there are a lot of emotions.
“But I’ve got no intentions to hold any grudges or have any bad relationship with any driver on the grid.
“I mean it is in my intentions to clear the air with him. I’m sure we will probably have a phone call this week just to put it behind us and move on.
“We’re all racers. We’re all battling for position. And at the moment it’s incredibly disappointing, sour, for all of us.
“You know, your heart stops for a moment when you crash at over 200 miles an hour. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.
“My anger towards him at the time was more that I thought he put us both in harm’s way and it was an incredibly scary incident to be honest, at that speed.
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“Fortunately we both walked away from it with no battle scars. But obviously it could have been very different.”
Russell, who has been tipped to replace Bottas at the Silver Arrows, said after the shunt that he felt as though he was targeted.
In the TV pen, Russell said: “Perhaps if it was another driver, he wouldn’t have.”
But the thought of Bottas holding a grudge was dismissed as ‘b*******’ by Wolff.
Russell again corrected his comments after the red mist had later cleared and added: “There is no tension at all between Valtteri and I.
“But obviously you can take that comment as you wish really. I think it was pretty clear how it was intended.
“But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’s just fighting for absolutely every position. And as I said, it is his right to do so.”
When Bottas was also quizzed about the incident, he labelled Russell’s initial accusation ‘quite a theory’ before adding, “I have lost my aluminium foil hat somewhere”.