George Russell and Valtteri Bottas debacle won’t hurt the Brit at Mercedes – Allan McNish

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Former F1 driver, three-time Le Mans winner and now team principal of Audi’s Formula E team Allan McNish believes George Russell hasn’t ruined his chances with Mercedes after a very heated coming together with Valtteri Bottas in Imola.

It was a battle that should never ever have happened according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff – a Williams vs Mercedes scrap that ended with two stricken cars – and a very public apology from the young Briton.

Jostling for position, the Williams of Russell attempted a move for P9 on Valtteri Bottas on lap 32 of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, a move that was considered bold if he would like a future at Mercedes.

The two tangled heavily, sending both cars into the barriers – with a furious Russell climbing out of the car to confront the Finn.

The 23-year-old admitted he had asked why the Finn was “trying to kill us both” in a furious rant. Bottas denied he caught much of what the 23-year-old said, but heard enough to gesture a middle finger at the Mercedes junior driver.

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After the fruity language ended and the dust settled, Russell publicly apologised and insisted his relationship with Mercedes, and specifically Wolff had “not been damaged at all following the incident, if anything quite the opposite.”

And McNish, speaking to Express Sport ahead of Formula E’s Monaco Grand Prix, won by DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa, believed it would have no long-term impact.

“I think a lot of people after the Bahrain race last year where George substituted, we’d like to see him being able to step forward,” McNish told Express Sport.

“I don’t believe the race in San Marino Imola, where he collided with Valtteri Bottas actually had any effect on his long term future at all, because at the end of the day, these things happen and sometimes, you know, two don’t go into one.

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“It’s it’s a simple fact, physics, unfortunately, but he’s showing the attributes that he could step forward.”

Meanwhile the three-time Le Mans winner added he believes it’ll be a tough season for Bottas, who is so far sitting behind his team-mate Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in the driver’s standings, and has yet to beat Hamilton at Mercedes over year.

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