Lewis Hamilton has hailed George Russell for taking responsibility for his 200mph collision with Valtteri Bottas at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Russell and Bottas collided as they battled for ninth place at a damp Imola.
Russell, who felt Bottas had driven dangerously, called the Finn a “f****** p****” before confronting him and slapping him on the helmet.
But Russell, who is a junior driver for Mercedes and stood in for Hamilton at last December’s Sakhir Grand Prix, issued a public apology for his actions on social media.
Responding to Russell’s post, seven-time world champion Hamilton said: “Strength comes from vulnerability.
“If you don’t make the mistake you can never learn the lesson. Respect for taking responsibility. On to the next one.”
Team principal Toto Wolff was disappointed with his protege, dismissing Russell’s claim that Bottas caused the crash because the two drivers are rivals for a seat at Mercedes in 2022 as “bulls***”.
In the statement, Russell, 23, said: “Yesterday wasn’t my proudest day.
“I knew it would be one of the best opportunities to score points this season and, when these points matter as much as they do to us right now, sometimes you take risks. It didn’t pay off and I have to take responsibility for that.
“Having had time to reflect on what happened afterwards, 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.
“I apologise to Valtteri, my team, and anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect from me.
“I have learned some tough lessons this weekend and will come out of this a better driver and a better person for the experience.”