Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff has criticized his junior driver and current Williams driver George Russell for a reckless move that ruined the race for himself and Valtteri Bottas and says he has shown he still has a lot to learn.
Russell attacked Bottas in lap 32 with the help of DRS and tried to overtake him from the outside of the second corner, but in doing so he crossed the wet grass with his right wheels and lost control of the car at more than 300 km/h after which he crashed into Bottas and kicked them both out of the race.
Bottas said it was pretty clear that Russell was to blame for the incident, and Russell says it was an unfortunate incident, with which the FIA agreed as the judges did not decide it was a racing incident.
Mercedes F1 team boss Wolff has been much harsher on Russell, who replaced Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir GP and almost won, but believes the young Briton has a lot more to learn.
“Leading the Championship with the fastest lap is one thing but what actually gives it a silver lining or positive connotation today is that we seem to have a really quick race car,” said Wolff.
“Unfortunately, the crash between George and Valtteri was unnecessary.”
“Valtteri had a difficult first 30 laps and shouldn’t have been there but George should have never launched into this manoeuvre considering that the track was drying up.”
“It meant taking risks and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him and in any drivers’ development as a young driver you must never lose this global perspective. Lots to learn for him I guess.”
Russell added that this was a ‘very unfortunate incident’ and could have been avoided.
“I think it was a very unfortunate incident and one that could have been avoided,” said Russell.
“Valtteri was defending hard, and he is in his right to do so. The track was going left, and he was going straight.”
“In these conditions with one dry line, it only had one outcome. It is frustrating but that is Formula One.”