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Vettel penalised for first lap clash

NEWS STORY
02/10/2016

Sebastian Vettel has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the incident on the opening lap of the Malaysia Grand Prix.

The incident, which had similarities to the three-into-one clash on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix, saw the German attempt to pass Max Verstappen on the inside of the first corner. The two touched and in the process Nico Rosberg was hit sending his Mercedes into a spin and dropping him to the back of the field.

Having reviewed the video evidence and spoken to Vettel, the stewards deemed that although the cars involved in the incident were all moving at relatively similar speeds, Vettel made a small error entering to the inside of turn 1 that led to the contact with Rosberg.

As a consequence, the Mercedes driver was caused to spin from second place and lose multiple positions, which the stewards determined was predominantly the fault of Vettel and therefore ordered the penalty for causing a collision.

Speaking after the incident, Vettel laid the blame firmly at the door of Verstappen, while sympathising with Rosberg who was blameless. In turn, the Dutch driver described Vettel's move as "crazy".

"He just dived up the inside, braked way too late, and t-boned Nico," said Verstappen. "I had to avoid the crash, so it compromised my race as well.

"I could see him behind me," he continued. "He wants to win the race in the first corner, which is, of course, ridiculous. I saw him in my mirrors, so I just braked late. I was closing up a bit on Nico, but he just dived up the inside. It was such a tight radius already, to try and turn and brake that late, of course you will lock up."

"If anything I was braking the same point as him," said Vettel. "I was going side-by-side, he was squeezing me down to the inside. It's racing.

"I thought both of us will make the corner, not a problem," he continued. "Obviously, Nico decided to take a different line, he's ahead, he's got nothing to do with it and doesn't have to bother what people are doing behind."

In addition to the grid penalty for Suzuka next week, Vettel receives 2 penalty points, bringing his tally for the 12 month period to 4.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Sepang, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by testa rossa, 03/10/2016 15:57

"The penalty was a right decision after his Spa pushing Kimi into Verstappen and now this blunder again.
Vettel is a very good driver but at the moment he is frustrated and tries now too much with the craw bar."

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2. Posted by ColliAle, 03/10/2016 11:52

"Vettel's penalty was to not take part in the race, an additional penalty seems ridiculous for a less than overenthusiastic manoeuvre. I'm sure I recall much worse incidents at the start of a GP without repercussion in the past?"

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3. Posted by karel, 03/10/2016 5:26

"Vettel, penalty on the grid, Rosberg, penalty during the race with a take over manoeuvre , he crazy can it get in F1 ?"

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4. Posted by Pavlo, 02/10/2016 20:09

"Well, of course here it's not Max' fault, but I don't undertstand why Vettel and Rosberg get penalized for the same thing Max did.
Alex Wurz made a very interesting remark - now instead of just following the rules, drivers have to think "who is the stuard today, and how will they react if I risk". Well, they really know who the stuards are and already can build some knowledge of their decisions, can review their comments on the topic, so will inevitably adjust to that."

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5. Posted by testa rossa, 02/10/2016 19:26

" the Merc engine failure was Max' fault too and also the collision between Rosbeg and Kimi ofcourse."

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6. Posted by Speedbump, 02/10/2016 17:15

"Obviously Verstappens' fault,... again. For some reason he's been allowed to do just about anything without penalization so far. He's going to cause a major incident yet, and hopefully nobody gets hurt."

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7. Posted by Pavlo, 02/10/2016 13:12

"I'm very surprised for Max to be so loud about this. Vettel did a very similar thing to what Max himself did in Belgium, so when Max says "crazy" and "ridiculous" - the same applies to him.
Also I am surprised there is no onboard video from Verstappen's car. It seems that Max did hit Sebastian in the left readr tyre, and then of course Seb couldn't make the corner and there is no reason for penalty. But from the view above I'm not sure.
Ironic, that being hit 2 times because of RBR driver diving in the inside, and having stewards called that "driving incidents", Vettel gets penalised for doing the same. This inconsistency is ridiculous."

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