Max, Seb and Kimi play the blame game

29/08/2016
NEWS STORY

Despite an incident filled race, an awful lot of people were left very disappointed after just a few seconds of the Belgian Grand Prix.

First off there were the tens of thousands of Max Verstappen fans who had come to see their man take a glorious home victory. Then there was the tifosi, keen to see Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen take full advantage of Lewis Hamilton's engine woes and perhaps claim the Scuderia's first victory of 2016.

In the end, all were left disappointed. Verstappen finished outside the points, while the Ferrari duo could only manage sixth and ninth.

Unsurprisingly, all three see things a little differently.

"I had a very good start," said Vettel, "I think the best start from all the (three) people in front of me.

"I was P2," he continued, "Nico was ahead but I was right behind on the outside leading the way into the first corner. I could hardly see Kimi because I was more than half a car ahead when I turned in, and to be honest he was already in the blind spot of Max.

"Looking at it, it was a very bold move," he said of the Red Bull driver's attempt to go down the inside of Raikkonen (and Vettel) at La Source, a corner with a fearsome reputation, especially on opening laps, "trying to recover those two places in one corner diving down the inside, and that obviously was the reason why Kimi couldn't turn in and follow the lead that I was dictating as the leading car of that group.

"You can't fit three cars in that corner," said the German, "and the inside one is able to trigger trouble to the outside and that's what Kimi and myself suffered from."

Nonetheless, the four-time world champion wasn't too hard on the youngster, claiming that the Red Bull driver needs to think more.

"I think it's right to criticise," he said, "but it's wrong to try to make it too much of a story. I get along with him, I like him, he's aggressive and I think that's his strength, but certain moves, especially under braking, I don't think are correct, and I think it's something that he needs to understand."

Raikkonen, on the other hand, who appeared to spend the entire afternoon locking horns with the youngster, wasn't quite as forgiving.

"I'm all up for fair battles and close racing," said the Finn, referring to his battle with Verstappen later in the race, when, as happened in Hungary, the Red Bull driver appeared to move in reaction to the Ferrari. "But when I have to back off after Eau Rouge... On the straight when I made my move, I had to brake not to hit him, because he turns after I make my move the first time... that, I think, is not correct. We were fortunate there wasn't a big accident because of that.

"With DRS I am around 20kph faster than him and once I turn he waits and waits then turns after me. The speed difference is quite high so I have to brake and slow down to avoid him. It's not what should happen at full speed, but for whatever reasons the stewards say it is OK. If I had not braked we would have had a massive accident and I'm sure it will happen sooner or later if this doesn't change.

"Maybe it needs an accident before things get more clear to everybody," he added, "but hopefully not, because it can be bad for somebody and nobody wants to see something like that happen. Fighting hard is fine but something like that should not be correct."

Like his teammate, Raikkonen, though a man of few words, can be relied on to voice his anger over the radio, and fans witnessed plenty of that during the race.

"His only interest is pushing me off the circuit completely," claimed the Finn following the clash at Les Combes which saw him pass the Red Bull but then have to yield the position having gone off track in the process.

A further incident warranted a further outburst. "Come on, this is ******* ridiculous now," said the Finn, "he's just ******* turning when I'm at full speed on the right."

Told of the comments, Verstappen wasn't impressed.

"He should say that in Turn 1," said the Dutchman. "It's ridiculous. I mean, it's good television when somebody is moaning. But after Turn 1 when they did something like that. I'm not going to give up my position to them that easy afterwards.

"To be honest, I think that's a big lie," he added. "I'm just defending my position. If somebody doesn't like it that's his own problem."

Seemingly unwilling to talk about the incidents later in the race, Verstappen seemed only interested in the first corner clash.

"The start wasn't great, but from there I dived up the inside and didn't lock a wheel and was easily making the corner but they just kept squeezing me," he said. "I was on the inside, Kimi was squeezing me and then Sebastian just turned in on both of us. He turned into the corner where there was already two cars.

"That gave my front wing a lot of damage, and obviously the floor got destroyed. From there on your race is gone."

While the drivers argue over who they think was to blame, it will be interesting to see how the tifosi feels when the circus arrives at Monza in a few days.

Anyone remember David Coulthard's reception at the Autodromo in 1998?

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spa, here.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 29/08/2016
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