Start, Singapore, 2017

Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen cleared over crash

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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The Singapore Grand Prix stewards have cleared Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen of blame for the first-lap collision which led to all three retiring.

The stewards reported they “examined video evidence and heard from Sebastian Vettel, the driver of car five, Kimi Raikkonen, the driver of car seven, Max Verstappen, the driver of car 33 and
the team representatives.”

Singapore, 2017
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“[The] driver of car seven had a very good start and was able to attempt overtaking of car 33 on the left-hand side,” noted the stewards.

“At the same time, car five which had a slower start, moved to the left hand side of the track; car 33 and car seven then collided resulting in a chain collision with car 5 and ultimately car 14 (Fernando Alonso) at the next turn. Cars seven, five and 33 had to retire immediately as a result of the incident; and car 14 retired some laps thereafter.”

“The stewards consider that no driver was found to have been wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident and will therefore take no further action.”

However Max Verstappen said he “doesn’t think it was a racing incident”.

“I think both of the Ferraris misjudged how much space they have to leave on the track,” Verstappen told the media after the race. “I couldn’t move because they started to squeeze me between their tyres so you cannot back out.”

“And then we had the crash. I understand that Kimi was going for a good start and he was going for the inside line. But he started to squeeze me to the right and Sebastian came quite aggressively to the left.”

“I don’t understand, when you’re fighting for the championship and then try to be that aggressive at the start when Lewis [Hamilton] is behind you, quite comfortably, it’s not I think the smartest move to do.”

“At the end of the day I’m happy that three of us retired and it’s not only me.”

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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120 comments on “Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen cleared over crash”

  1. Seems fair enough.

    Looked like it just about remained within the boundaries of a racing incident, and the only one who was ever going to shoulder any blame – Vettel – ended up receiving a more than adequate punishment in the race result.

    1. I agree, racing incident, though I definitely think Vettel was the one who pushed the issue, moving as much to the left as he did, even though he didn’t know Kimi was there. The problem is it didn’t just effect those three drivers. Pity for Alonso…perhaps the one race he had a shot at a podium this year, his horrid season just keeps going from bad to worse.

      1. The stewards must have had their eyes closed. Vettel is clearly at fault and undoubtedly cost Ferrari the championship.

    2. Yeah. Vettel fails to anticipate Kimi might be there. Probably could not see him in all the spray.

      Classical race start incident. Vettel really should have paid more attention and give more room to Verstappen.

      1st because he needed a win and not a DNF.
      2nd because Max often finds himself in accidents.

    3. The idiot Max clearly moves to the left and hits Kimi, Vettel barely moves from a straight line, and it’s Vettel’s fault? Wow!!!

      1. Paul. You are so right. We are the minority i wonder why. Stewards are just being kind?? Maybe coz a redbull was involved.

        No coincidence verstappen was in the centre of it, again!

      2. Sky guys talked to Max and he said “I didn’t think Vettel would push it because he has to worry about the championship.” To me that clearly implies that Verstappen knew the regular blocking move to take the racing line that someone in Vettel’s position would do (just as he tried to move to the inside across Vettel at the start) and was committed to playing chicken with Vettel, forcing him off the line. Don’t know how many times I’ve seen Max do that, usually barreling down the inside of a corner and forcing someone off the track to avoid his late braking and a crash. When Vettel didn’t give way from the racing line, Max flinched without ever looking where he was going. Kimi was already mostly past him, Max just assumed he was ahead of everyone else, arrogant twit. Hard not to notice a red car filling your entire left side vision but he managed it.

    4. And what about the other two? They all stand with Vettel? Nonsense. Vettel’s obsession with the title is turning him onto an amateur. If he had taken only himself out that would have been just fine. There’s no logic behind your apologies on behalf of Vettel guys. We’re not participants, we have no stake in any of this and making excuses for people we don’t know makes no sense.

  2. I’d put more fault on Vettel but it’s not uncommon for drivers to swoop across to protect their lead so no penalty is probably the right call. There’s no doubt Vettel caused the reaction but under the conditions I think losing 25 points is enough punishment.

    1. Vince Duggan (@vince-dugganvirginactive-co-za)
      17th September 2017, 16:46

      All very well, but he ruined 2 other driver’s races, (as well as ruining the race for the fans). This is very far from the first time Vettel has swooped onto the racing line when someone else was in the way at the first corner of a race.

      1. He did it on the second corner of Brazil on senna a few years back and senna got a penalty

      2. I don’t see how this was mostly Vettel’s fault. It looked like he was ahead enough of Max, while Kimi wasn’t.

        1. watch again. Kimi was 3/4 past Max; Verstappen’s front tire caught Kimi’s rear.

      3. Also Alonso’s
        poor Alonso’s only probable chance to score a good finish ……. Vettel ruined it

    2. “Losing 25 points” should never be the judgment in any way. You as a driver know that and still knowingly make the judgment call to cut to the inside. The only thing Vettel can’t be blamed for was the fact he couldn’t see Kimi was next to Max.

  3. Not surprising, but also letting Vettel of a bit easy, I think. I guess the drivers will have something to discuss at the next race’s drivers briefing – wonder what Alonso will say about it, as an acknowledged innocent by-catch of the collision(s).

  4. Not too surprised. Most of the blame is shouldered on Vettel but he probably couldn’t see Raikkonen, so racing incident.

  5. Well this is highly disappointing, if not really that unexpected.
    Vettel is really due a serious penalty. He’s been making way too many mistakes that been costing other people.
    This was an incident which wasn’t caused by anything outside anyone’s control. It was a deliberate move by Vettel, even though he didn’t know it was bound to cause a collision.
    But the issue is, that the move itself is rather unsportsmanlike one, which is at best tolerated. Covering off a line is one thing, but intentionally going into the side of people and counting on the to move in order to avoid a deliberate sideways hit, is not something to forgive as just “an incident”.

    1. Couldn’t disagree more. It’s quite common to see drivers move across to cover off another driver who had a slightly better start. You see this multiple times a season and many other drivers would have made a similar move had they been in Vettel’s position. I agree with the stewards interpretation of this incident. An unfortunate racing incident.

      1. I think all of these moves should be penalized (which will prevent them from occurring because drivers don’t want penalties). It’s one thing taking the racing line or a defensive line, but you can’t go pushing people that are already besides you. I sometimes think the safety standards these days have a flip side: deliberate accident-inducing moves that used to be able to get others killed are not avoided any longer. On the contrary, it’s a hustle for whoever proves to have the biggest cojones of the field so everybody else stays away from you, because you know they’re not going to give way and will just take out the both of you if you attempt to overtake. It’s high testosterone scare tactics.

      2. I am not so sure. If you pull across someone’s front like that then you are asking for a crash. Vettel has been the most aggressive drive in this respect at starts for quite some time. Yes pull across but not that late that you risk hitting someone. Remember the Webber days when vettel would aim his car directly at him? I was amazed more crashes didn’t happen back then. This time he ruined the race of a number of drivers and although I don’t think he purposely hit anyone, he didn’t have to see kimi to realise that it was a risky move…

    2. Exactly. It’s staggering how he keeps getting away with this nonsense. But then that’s probably why he just keeps giving into his bouts of “read mist”.

      If he had been ahead of Verstappen he could reasonably make that move and expect to stay out of trouble, but not when there clearly is a car next to you. There is always a huge chance that there are other cars around too.

      It’s just like Spa again and again Ferrari has the audacity to blame Verstappen.

    3. Covering off a line is one thing, but intentionally going into the side of people and counting on the to move in order to avoid a deliberate sideways hit, is not something to forgive as just “an incident”.

      You mean like 80% of the overtakes we praise Verstappen and Ricciardo for?

      What you both (@patrickl & @sihrtogg) really are saying is that a driver cannot defend his line, which was all he was doing. He left plenty of space for Verstappen to operate within, it just happens to be that Kimi was there already. Something Vettel could’ve never seen.

      So let’s already cut the nonsense of his ‘red mist’ and ‘dangerous temper’, and call it what it really is. An unfortunate racing incident.

      1. @flatsix,

        Yes, I’m saying you can defend your line, but you cannot ram people off track on the straight. Bizarre notion, I know, but there you have it. He could also imagine that if he had a bad start and Verstappen was away from the left that there might be another driver next to Verstappen as well.

        Just like in Spa 2016. It’s not the first time that Vettel pulls a dumb stunt like this. You cannot keep saying you didn’t see someone when you know it’s the start and cars are always bunched up.

        It is red mist, because violent moves like that are unsportsmanlike to begin with when you are completely in front (like what Schumacher always used to do or what Hamilton did in Monza to Stroll), but Verstappen was well besides Vettel already and then a move like that is just ridiculously dangerous. It’s appalling that the stewards don’t take proper action against it. Especially since it’s clearly a pattern for Vettel.

        Still, I’m glad he potentially ruined his own WDC hopes. Perhaps he will finally learn from that. Doubt it since it’s really “red mist” and not some thought out plan I’m sure, but still one can hope.

        1. Ok Mercedes boy. We got the point!. You don’t.
          At Spa, there was a corner if you remember. Some drivers say you have to turn your wheel at that point.
          Please refer to google and ask for “blind spot angles for f1 cars” and come back with your thoughts. VES didn’t ever look to the left. And when he realised that he lost the position to RAI, he did nothing. Just to remind you, VES is involved in many first corner incidents, just for 2017.Even with his teammate. Also refer to “backing off”.
          Last but not least, stop watching skyf1 so much. They get to you, big time.

          1. You’r not really a f1 fan are you?

          2. Well said, Psi. SkyF1 guys gave Verstappen the line “he didn’t have time to back off” but Max mangled it and said, “there’s nothing I could do, there were cars on both sides of me so I couldn’t back off” Huh? what? Oh, you mean without losing position. Basically he admitted to doing what he usually does, threaten a wreck.

      2. i agree
        i just hope no one gets killed by “INCIDENT DRIVES” of vettel
        he has done so many dangerous drivings and NO PENALTY
        please do not leave it till some driver gets killed

  6. Best outcome and one that encourages drivers to continue to race in the future.

    It’s easy to say that both of the Ferraris were more to blame than Verstappen when looking at their actions combined from an outsider’s point of view, but in isolation and in the heat of the moment neither did anything out of the ordinary.

  7. Yeah, correct decision. Racing-wise, nobody did anything unreasonable or illegal. Just the same old story of too many cars trying to squeeze into too little space.
    Vettel does have to blame himself for not playing it extra-safe, though. His defense was pretty aggressive, and there’s always a risk of something unpredictable happening. He could’ve scored big points against Hamilton even by finishing second, but he ended up losing so many points that the championship might be lost as well.

  8. Smells like politics but Vettel throwing away the WDC is punishment enough

  9. Vettel’s penalty is that he’s almost certainly blown his WDC chances for this year. That said, racing incident is a sensible decision.

  10. Probably the best outcome for the investigation after all.

  11. The collision is remarkably identical to the one at the 2003 German Grand Prix between Ralf Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen. Sebastian (Ralf) had a poor start meaning he had to cover off Max (Rubens) but Kimi (Kimi) was on the other side having made a great start, and a collision happened as a result of Sebastian’s defence. In 2003, the stewards gave Ralf a 10-place grid penalty which was reduced to a fine, but in 2017, no such penalties were given, so I do question the consistency.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      17th September 2017, 16:58

      Are you sure the standards were exactly the same then as now?

      1. Not at all, it’s just a historical point I wanted to raise because I felt the two incidents were a carbon copy of each other.

        1. You my friend is an astute F1 fan… Well Done.

    2. It’s also slightly similar to Spa 2016 although then they weren’t still on the straight when Vettel slammed into the side of the other two. Also then they blamed Verstappen

    3. @brickles wow, just viewed 2003 German GP start on the internet, is this a party trick of yours, instant recall of stuff that happened 14 years ago?

      Spot on though, pretty much a carbon copy today

      1. @frasier – I’d say it’s more of a curse ;)

    4. @brickles If you have to grab back to an example of 2003 there should be not doubt about consistency as it has been 14 years since and thus close to irrelevant really.

      1. I think you should thank@brickles for sharing this and accept that some things are as relevant as 14 years ago.
        Stuff like sportmanship and the fact that cars still cannot vanish into thin air.

        Thanks @brickles, great memory!

    5. @brickles Really great (re)call there. Indeed a carbon copy, and quite amazing that again, Kimi’s great start was a sort of catalyst for all that followed (I’m not blaming Kimi!)

    6. in 2004 last race michael schumacher didn it to damon hill and became world champion!

  12. that limping horse driver already paid the ultimate price by getting DNF after a great quali lap yesterday. Though to be fair looking at the conduct for last last years, he certainly deserves a race ban.

  13. Another bad decision by the stewards. It was the perfect moment to clear all the wrong decisions from the 2017 season… Baku especially. Yeah, overall it was a racing incident… but quite an extreme racing incident… and didn’t came out of nowhere either. Let’s be honest, this resembles a lot to 2012 Spa and we all know what happened to the driver who triggered that incident. VET triggered this incident, it’s obvious, and took out 4 cars totally. That’s a lot of cars. The WDC is pretty much lost anyway for VET and, in my opinion, this was the perfect moment for the stewards to clear this champ of all suspicious decisions by giving VET another 3 penalty points and a race ban. He’s the one who threw away his own champ chances in the end… and not the stewards.

    1. Yes, in every radce, the car ahead shoould lift. Tell that to Hamilton if he was the one being ahead and he would laugh like has laughted today with his result

    2. @mg1982 Giving him 3 penalty points would actually do nothing as he lost 2 in Austria.

  14. Common move if looked individually..but going that fast into a corner with wheels in between each other is matter of luck..had kimi tried to pass max more cleanly knowing leader might try to cover his lead could have made it simple…even lewis n nico used to cover each other with same or higher aggression..
    No ones fault it seems but all being too aggressive at same spot.. i think kimi could have passed max more cleanly though

    1. yep, as I was watching I was trying to will Kimi a bit further left. Later I thought Kimi knows Verstappen and if he wasn’t in his face then Verstappen would have hit him in Turn 1 or at least threatened enough to force him off track…but it’s a street race so no real off track place to go. That’s all I could come with to explain it.

  15. Meh. VET was the main (but not the lone) responsible party, and probably has his punishment by being a -25 vs. HAM, not to mention the -40 for the WCC, too.

    1. That’s not the correct line of thought. The rules are the rules and should be enforced irrespective of any WCC standings or names of the drivers or teams. Equality before the law is essential if the stewards want to take themselves seriously at all.

  16. It was clearly Vettel’s fault – he moved across and started the collision.

    Let off too lightly.

    1. He was ahead of ver, what driver would have not did that?

    2. @viscountviktor Moving across is not against the rules, no fault there

      1. It should be if there is a car already moving in the line!!!! Makes sense that if the line did not have VER in it, VET would have been leading the race on turn 1.

      2. Moving across when there is a car already there is either a fault or intimidation…even Mark Webber said today that vetted thinks his car ends at the back of his helmet……

    3. Blind spot people. Don’t forget blind spot. You will need to know what it is while driving safe a road car. Stop blaming without knowing