Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton's messages of support for George Russell and Lando Norris
Lewis Hamilton to George Russell: 'Respect for taking responsibility; Lewis Hamilton to Lando Norris: "It's great to see you and the team shine."; words of encouragement for two young British drivers from their compatriot and seven-time F1 champion
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 21/04/21 5:43pm
Lewis Hamilton offered George Russell words of encouragement and "respect" following the Williams driver's apology to Valtteri Bottas over their Emilia Romagna GP crash - having previously also posted his support for Lando Norris, another crestfallen young Brit, over the Imola weekend.
After colliding with Bottas during Sunday's chaotic race and initially blaming the Finn, Russell, the Mercedes junior who hopes to join full-time in the future, backed down 24 hours later and issued a statement apologising.
"Yesterday wasn't my proudest day," he wrote on social media on Monday evening as he admitted he had "to take responsibility" for the "risk" of attempting to overtake Bottas' Mercedes.
Having also accused Bottas of a "dangerous" move after the race and asking him "if he was trying to kill us both", Russell added in his statement: "I know I should have handled the whole situation better.
"Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me."
Hamilton clearly took note of the apology and praised Russell afterwards.
"Strength comes from vulnerability," he wrote as a comment on Russell's Instagram post. "If you don't make the mistake you can never learn the lesson. Respect for taking responsibility. On to the next one."
Hamilton's message came a couple of days he left a message of support for Norris, after the English McLaren driver missed out on third in qualifying for exceeding track limits.
After qualifying, Norris posted a picture of himself looking downbeat with caption: "How I feel right now. Inches away from P3. My mistake, I misjudged it and the time was deleted. Sorry to everyone at McLaren, I effed up, you deserved better today."
To which Hamilton, who started his F1 career with McLaren, replied on Saturday night: "Nobody can knock you for giving it your all. Amazing lap, it's great to see you and the team shine. Move on, let's race."
Norris, who went on to secure a deserved podium on the Sunday, was delighted with the advice.
"It's nice," he told Sky F1 before the race. "I get messages from a lot of people, my fans and everyone - but support from Lewis, it means probably a little bit more.
"It's a guy talking from experience, he's made the same mistakes, he still makes mistakes now but he's a seven-time champion."
Hamilton's tyre testing at Imola
Two days after finishing second at the Emilia Romagna GP, Hamilton was back at Imola for tyre testing and his first taste of the Pirelli 18-inch tyres which will be introduced to the sport, along with radically different cars, next season.
The 36-year-old completed 130 laps on the compound, with Valtteri Bottas' continuing Mercedes' programme on Wednesday.
Hamilton, with only a one-year contract, is not currently signed up to compete in F1 2022.