SUZUKA, Japan — Max Verstappen says Sebastian Vettel ought to be “more careful” after the Ferrari driver botched an attempted overtake and the pair collided early on in the Japanese Grand Prix.
On lap eight at Suzuka, Vettel attempted a move down the inside of Verstappen on the entry into Spoon Curve but he quickly ran out of track and careered into the side of the Red Bull. The contact saw Vettel spin off the track where he had to wait for the entire field to pass before re-joining in last place.
While the stewards deemed it to only be a racing incident, Vettel was critical of Verstappen, saying he once again over-defended. The Dutchman shifted the blame back onto his rival.
“I think he could have been a bit more careful,” Verstappen said. “He tried to overtake me in a corner where you shouldn’t overtake, so he understeered into my car and we went off the track.
“It’s a similar situation to what I had in China with him. Of course, we didn’t spin off the track but he drove straight into my car.”
It wasn’t the only incident Verstappen was involved in during the race. On the opening lap he made contact with Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen after overshooting the chicane. He ran onto the grass before re-joining and making contact with the Ferrari.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen received a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and not returning safely after he made contact with Kimi Raikkonen at the Japan Grand Prix.
The matter was sent directly to the stewards who determined Verstappen had caused an avoidable collision and as a result he received a five-second time penalty.
However, Verstappen labelled the stewards’ decision “stupid,” saying he did everything in his power to ensure he re-joined the track in a safe manner. He also believed Raikkonen could have taken measures to avoid the contact.
“I totally do not agree with that penalty. I really think that’s stupid,” Verstappen said. “I locked up, could easily have cut the track but I did everything to get back onto the track [safely].
“He then chose to drive around the outside when he could have easily waited for me to steer a bit wide. I don’t really understand why I get a five-second penalty for that.”
Verstappen served his penalty during his one and only pit stop on lap 22 but it didn’t hamper his race too much with the Dutchman going on to finish third, just 1.3s behind second-placed Valtteri Bottas.
On the cool down lap, Red Bull boss Christian Horner joked over the team radio: “I don’t think you’re too popular with Ferrari and the Italians,” to which Verstappen replied, “That’s not my problem, they were too aggressive.”