A few months ago, Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas described himself as being in the physical and mental space of his career.
Yet, the 2021 campaign didn’t start as expected. First off, he was clearly having issues with the tyre temperature, an issue that has been hindering his performance since the beginning of the weekend.
“I had some troubles in warming up the tyres today, I couldn’t get proper heat.
“I think this is a general issue of the team. Over the years we quite often struggled with warm conditions. Cold has normally been better.
“Of course we try to develop the car in a way to avoid overheating of the tyres but, of course, this can work against you when the air temperature is not high.''
After those technical issues, the race didn’t certainly go as planned for the Finn, starting from P7, his Sunday finished early at lap 31 after colliding with the young British driver, George Russell.
Williams’ driver was looking for points after having made up two places from P12, however, on the way into Tamburello the two crashed spectacularly, spinning into the barriers and out of the race.
A downbeat Valtteri Bottas says he doesn't "understand the rage" from Russell, believing that the pair's high-speed crash at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which caused the race to be red-flagged, was "clearly" the fault of the British driver.
When asked to comment about it, Valtteri looked totally unimpressed saying that after Sakhir last year the relationship with George has not changed nor will it be affected by drivers’ market rumours.
“To be honest, I never really worked that closely with him. Obviously, he has been around for some time, he’s our reserve driver so I know him and from my side, nothing will change.
“Of course I wasn’t happy with how things went today but…yeah, as you said, I’m an easy-going guy… I can’t say I’m friends with George.
“I’m not friends with any of the drivers really…but today it was a pity. We lost quite a big chunk of points.''
Replays showed that Russell lost control with two wheels on the wet grass on the outside of the corner, continued at full throttle, and was left furious as this chance to score his first points for Williams was ruined.
“I think it was a very unfortunate incident. In part it could have been avoided, Valtteri was defending and had every right to do so but the track was going left, he kept going straight.
''He had the right to defend but in these conditions…It was unfortunate, there should’ve been more respect from Bottas in my opinion”
Immediately after the race, a heated George Russell released an interview with Sky Sports saying that “if it was another driver,'' he wouldn’t have probably been so aggressive.
“You can take this comment as you want… there’s absolutely no tension between me and Valtteri but, yeah…we'll have to clear this,” the Briton commented during the post-race debrief
"Of course, in the heat of the race, when you crash at 200 mph, your heart stops for a moment...
"I thought he put us both in a pretty dangerous situation. I had lots of adrenaline but it is in my intention is to clear things up with Bottas," concluded Russell.
As per the relationship with Mercedes, George is sure this accident won't ruin any relationship going forward.