Toto Wolff calls “bulls***” on George Russell's Valtteri Bottas crash accusation amid concerns over Lewis Hamilton title bid

Toto Wolff has branded George Russell’s claim that Valtteri Bottas deliberately caused their 200mph crash as “bulls***” – and fears the accident could hinder Lewis Hamilton’s charge for an eighth world championship.

Valtteri Bottas, pictured, and George Russell exchanged obscenities after their high-speed collision in Sunday’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Picture: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Russell and Bottas exchanged obscenities after their high-speed collision in Sunday’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Russell suggested that Bottas would have behaved differently to another driver, with both men in contention to partner Hamilton at Mercedes next season.

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But responding to Russell’s comments, Wolff, the Mercedes Team Principal, said: “That is bulls***. The whole situation is absolutely not amusing for us. I am going to speak to George and make my point.”

Toto Wolff fears the accident in Italy could hinder Lewis Hamilton's bid for an eighth world championship.

Bottas’ Mercedes was severely damaged in the accident and Wolff believes the repair bill could have a knock-on effect in this season’s development race.

A new budget cap means spending is limited to £105 million. In previous campaigns, Mercedes have spent north of £300m.

Hamilton finished second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Imola and will head to the next round in Portugal a week on Sunday with a single-point advantage in the championship.

Wolff, who is married to former Scottish racing driver Susie Wolff, added: “It was a big shunt, our car is a write-off, and in a cost-cap environment that is certainly not what we needed and it is probably going to limit upgrades for us.

“I cannot overlook that we literally lost a car and Valtteri didn’t score any points.”

Wolff said a star was born when Russell stood in for a Covid-hit Hamilton at last December’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Englishman, 23, was faster than Bottas throughout the race but was cruelly denied victory following a pit-stop mistake by Mercedes and then a late puncture.

Russell, now in his third season with Williams, believes he is ready to join Hamilton, having been on Mercedes’ books as a junior driver in 2017.

But Wolff, who will have the final say on Russell’s next move, took a dim view of his protege’s actions in Imola.

He said: “Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps and shouldn’t have been there, but George should never have launched into this manoeuvre.

“It meant taking risks and the other car in front was a Mercedes. For a young driver, you must never lose this global perspective, so there is lots for him to learn.

“I don’t want him to try to prove anything to us. One thing I can say, is that knowing Valtteri for five years, he is not trying to prove anything.”

Russell called Bottas a “f****** p***k” and accused the Mercedes driver of trying to kill him following their crash in Italy.

Russell was attempting to pass Bottas around the outside of the Finn’s Mercedes on the high-speed run to the opening corner in Imola on lap 32.

But the British driver dipped his front-right tyre onto the damp grass, causing him to lose control of his machine and spear into the side of Bottas’ Mercedes.

Both men ended up in the wall with significant damage sustained to their respective cars.

A furious Russell, 23, yelled over the radio: “What the f*** was he doing? Honestly. Is he a f****** p***k or what?”

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