No excuse for Vettel’s actions at Singapore Grand Prix – Max Verstappen


Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen collide at Singapore GP 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen felt the move by Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix, was not a clever one for someone who is fighting for a world championship.

Having got a great start from the front row, much better than that of pole sitter Vettel, the Dutchman then found himself being squeezed by the German, as he tried to recoup lost ground.

Unfortunately for all concerned, Verstappen also had a quickly advancing Kimi Raikkonen on his left, and as Vettel squeezed harder, there was nowhere for the Dutchman or the Finn to go.

The result was a three-way collision that took both Ferrari drivers and the Red Bull out on the first lap, robbing them and the fans of a possible six-way battle for victory.

“My start was a little bit better than Seb and I think he saw that so he tried to move to the left to squeeze me out of the line a bit but he did not know Kimi was on my other side.

“I think it wasn’t the smartest move and you can’t make excuses for it when you are fighting for a world championship.

“Kimi had a great start and was alongside me very quickly, I didn’t try and defend that as I knew it would be a long race, he then started to squeeze me also, at which point there wasn’t a lot I could do.

“The rear wheels are wider than the front so I was locked in the sandwich with no way out, even when I braked.”

Despite Red Bull looking strong in Singapore throughout the weekend, with data pointing to a real possibility of them taking the win at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Verstappen kept calm about the fact he was denied the chance to fight for victory on Sunday.

The 19-year-old advised that the fact that it was not his own fault or an engine or car failure that took him out of the race, made the situation much easier to take.

“If I made a mistake myself I would be upset or angry but there was nothing I could do today. We all lost out in the end so we all experienced some pain rather than someone making a mistake and then being able to carry on.”

Verstappen instead chose to focus on the high point of the weekend, which was that Red Bull were fighting up there with both the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Ferrari on merit this weekend, and the Dutchman hopes they can continue that performance at the next round in Malaysia.

“We have to take the positives from the weekend, we were quick in qualifying and the practice sessions with good potential going into the race, we can hold onto this and move on to the next race.”