Sebastian Vettel was naturally disappointed after finding his Russian Grand Prix ended at only the third turn after taking two hits from the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat in consecutive turns.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver had made a good start to the race at the Sochi Autodrom, and was attempting an overtake on the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo at turn two, only to find Kvyat out-braking himself and hitting him from behind, before the Russian struck him again going around the long turn three that saw Vettel retire with damage against the barriers.
Vettel dropped further behind in the championship standings as a result of his second retirement of 2016, and has asked for drivers to remember that races do go beyond the opening lap.
“I think it’s a shame because today we had done everything right,” said Vettel. “I had a really good start, I was a bit stuck at the first turn, but then I was able to go.
“Of course there’s always a bit more risk in starting behind, but P7 is not P15. I was going into second corner, I was already attacking and approaching fifth place, but it doesn’t help when people behind don’t brake.
“What Kvyat did was completely unnecessary. I had a massive hit from behind, then another big hit in turn 3 and that finished my race. As far as I know, the race is 53 laps, but not everybody seems to remember.”
Vettel insists he was completely innocent of all blame for the incident, and would not do anything differently to what he did in the opening few turns as he looked to make up ground after starting seventh on the grid.
“I don’t think I need to say much, I think if you look at the footage you’ll have the answers to your questions,” said Vettel. “Today it was not my fault, there was nothing I could have done differently, nothing I would change.
“I don’t dislike him (Kvyat), but I think he did a mistake two weeks ago, he made a mistake today but it doesn’t help me now.
“Obviously I would have loved to drive the car today to feel if we could keep the same balance into the race, but for the future nothing has changed. Of course I’m disappointed but we’re already focused on the next race.”