FIA race director Charlie Whiting rejected Max Verstappen’s claim his collision with Sebastian Vettel in today’s race was comparable to the collision between the pair in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Verstappen was given a penalty when he hit Vettel while trying to pass the Ferrari driver during April’s race in Shanghai. However the stewards took no action when the pair collided today as Vettel was trying to pass.
“It was a bit similar to China this year,” said Verstappen after the race. But Whiting said his recollection of that incident was different.
“He came charging down the inside into the hairpin and almost T-boned Seb,” said Whiting. “I don’t think there was any similarity between those two.
“My recollection of that incident was a very clear case of causing a collision and I think what Sebastian was doing was a genuine attempt to overtake and I think what Max was doing in China was opportunistic at best.”
Vettel made a “reasonable move [and] got halfway alongside” said Whiting. “As you know [the] stewards don’t normally give penalties unless they are sure that one driver was wholly or predominantly to blame. And I think opinions will vary whether it was equal blame but certainly no driver was predominantly to blame, we felt.”
However Vettel remains adamant he was unable to avoid the collision between the two.
“I was side-by-side but then I can’t go anywhere,” he said. “I can’t turn even further on the inside because I’m already two wheels on the kerb.
“Then he just needs to give way and fight back the corner after or whatever. I’m sure that I wouldn’t have got a great exit out of Spoon so it wouldn’t be over there.”
Vettel and Verstappen’s team radio after their collision
|Vettel:||Is it believable what this guy is doing? I don’t think so.|
|To Vettel:||Car damage?|
|Vettel:||…give the space. Maybe have a puncture on the rear-right.|
|To Vettel:||Tyre pressures fine.|
|Vettel:||OK. I mean this guy, honestly, where is he thinking we can go?|
|To Vettel:||OK, stay out.|
|Verstappen:||What the fuck is he thinking to overtake there? So fucking stupid.|
|Verstappen:||Guys I think I have a puncture, check it please. No, I think it’s fine.|
|To Verstappen:||Stay out, stay out.|
|Verstappen:||Please let me know as quick as possible with the damage.|
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