After his accident with George Russell on lap 32 of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas was accused of having broken the gentleman’s agreement concerning defensive moves in a straight line. The Finn denies these accusations.
In the past few years, one of the biggest debates in Formula One concerned defensive moves in a straight line. When you are driving a Formula One car at over 300 kilometers per hour, you surely do not want to see your opponent brutally change his line in order to block you.
A gentleman’s rule was therefore agreed between the drivers, stating that you are only allowed to change your line once while defending in a straight line and that you are not allowed to brutally block your opponent by placing your car in his path right before getting overtaken.
Right after their accident, both Bottas and Russell were extremely heated and the Williams driver stated that Bottas broke this specific gentleman’s agreement, causing them to crash. However, after reviewing replays from what happened, the Briton admitted that he was at fault and that his Finn opponent did not do anything illegal.
Further analysis of the available video footage of the crash also demonstrated that Bottas always kept his car on the dry line and, therefore, had a ‘predictable’ path.
Bottas also wanted to make clear that he did not do anything crazy when he was getting attacked by Russell. The Finn also pointed out that the 23-year-old should have known he was engaging his single-seater on a slippery part of the track.
“I didn’t make any sudden moves. I think it’s quite clear from his onboard as well, I always left a space,” the Mercedes driver said to Motorsport.com.
“It was his choice to go there, I was doing my job trying to defend, and I’m not going to move away and give him the dry patch back. That’s how it goes.”
“He knew that it was going to be damp there because we have gone there lap after lap. I knew as well, and it was just not a place to go in those conditions on slicks. But he still went there.”
“No, from my side, it was clean. And of course, I’m defending, I’m not going to make any room for him. But also when I race, I have respect.”
Russell admitted to being at fault and wants to clear the air with Bottas. The Briton wants to call him this week to apologize and give an end to this misunderstanding between the two drivers.