“I don’t think you can blame anyone” for First Lap Crash with Räikkönen – Verstappen

by Paul Hensby

Max Verstappen admitted his lap one retirement was not the way he was hoping his weekend at Spa-Francorchamps would end, but the Dutchman was philosophical, particularly in the light of what happened at the track on Saturday.

The horror crash that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert put everything into perspective for the Red Bull Racing driver, who made a poor start on Sunday afternoon and collided with Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Räikkönen as the two raced into La Source.

The collision broke the left track rod of Verstappen’s front suspension and as a result, when trying to get back to the pits, he was unable to steer sufficiently to get through Eau Rouge, with the Dutchman ending up hitting the barrier and causing an early safety car period in Belgium.

Verstappen, who’s twenty-one race run of finishing inside the top five ended in the accident, believed Räikkönen did not know that he was there as they went into turn one, but he was not putting any blame on the former Scuderia Ferrari driver, feeling it was just a racing accident that ultimately compromised both their afternoons.

“It was of course not a great end to the weekend but it’s not the worst thing that can happen in life as we have seen yesterday, so I cannot really call this frustration,” said Verstappen.  “I got a poor start, the reaction was not great and then I got wheel spin when I released the clutch.

“I tried to stay on the inside into Turn 1 but I think Kimi expected to be fully ahead of me and just followed his line. I don’t think you can blame anyone and I guess he just didn’t see me, once I was next to him and he was turning then we couldn’t back out.

“We touched, my track rod was broken so I went straight on into the barrier at Eau Rouge and the race was over. These things happen, it’s very unfortunate for the Team and we will of course try and do better next week.”

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