July 23, 2024

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen blamed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the first-lap crash which took three cars out of the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Dutchman and the German came together with Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen off the start line.

Verstappen said: “Mainly Sebastian started squeezing me. Maybe he did not see Kimi on the left but that is not an excuse. He shouldn’t take those risks.”

Verstappen, talking during the race, said: “Lewis is leading the race and the three of us are out. I don’t think it was a racing incident. Three cars were taken out and I was in the middle not doing anything wrong.”

Ferrari blamed Verstappen, saying on the team’s Twitter account: “Verstappen took Kimi out and then he went into Seb.”

After widespread criticism of the statement, Ferrari added: “What we tweeted was a factual description of events. No need to speculate on this.”

The stewards investigated the incident but decided to take no further action, ruling that: “No driver was wholly or predominantly to blame.”Vettel played down the effect of the incident on his title chances.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “We have races to go. Nothing we can do now. For sure it is bitter, but it is done.

“It doesn’t change much. I’m sure there will be other opportunities.”

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On the incident, he said: “I had an average start and moved slightly to the left trying to fend off Max and the next thing I know I felt a bump on the side. I’m not sure what happened.

“I saw Max and the next thing I see is Kimi hitting the side of me and Max somewhere there. It was obviously bad for all three of us. We move on.”

While Raikkonen and Verstappen were out immediately, Vettel was able to continue in the lead, until he spun coming out of Turn Three, probably on fluids coming out of the back of his car.

Vettel said: “I spun after Turn Three but there was damage on the car already, the cooler was broken, massively bent, so we lost water pressure and had to stop anyway.”

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