Surprise: Everyone Blames Vettel for Singapore GP Crash
That includes Ferrari legend Niki Lauda and the ever-opinionated Jacques Villeneuve. Oh yeah, and Max Verstappen. He's pissed.
Last Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix was great for some people, especially if your name is Lewis Hamilton. But for others, like, say, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen, it wasn't so great.
The cat's out of the bag on the massive crash that retired these four racers from the event, and according to many past and current F1 greats, Ferrari ace Vettel is to blame.
Verstappen was the first to fess up, as we reported earlier. He claimed that Vettel made the mistake, and no matter his excuse, it wasn't up for discussion. Seb claimed that he hadn't seen Kimi when he decided to change his line, but according to Verstappen, that shouldn't have mattered.
"If you are fighting for the world championship, you shouldn’t take those risks squeezing someone that much," Verstappen explained. "You can see what happens. Lewis is leading the race and the three of us are out."
This attracted attention from Verstappen's father, Jos, as well. "You can hardly blame Max for any of this," he said.
Former Ferrari great and current Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda also had something to say about the collision. Though none of his team's drivers was involved in the crash, he still put in his two cents to vouch for both race etiquette and safety.
Lauda explained to the Austrian Osterreich newspaper: "It was clearly Sebastian's fault. I don't know why he would risk so much at this important stage of the world championship."
He then added that if that happened in his time, he'd "be walking back to Maranello."
Next to criticize Vettel is 1997 F1 champ and perennial opinion-meister Jacques Villeneuve. When approached by Motorsport.com to talk about Sunday's crash, he made his views clear. "Vettel only has himself to blame ... You don't change line like this," he said. "It doesn't matter if he could see Kimi or not. In his mind, he didn't know if there were two or three cars there."
"To think that way they will slow down—no, he ended up crashing. Don't point at the finger at Max. He was just there," he said.
Other members of the racing community like Vettel's former Red Bull teammate Mark Webber chimed in as well. The Aussie told the Spanish newspaper Marca that sometimes "Seb forgets where the back of his car is," and that he wasn't punished by race stewards is "a joke."
It seems to be unanimous within F1 that Vettel is to blame for the crash. And while it certainly put a kink in the system of Verstappen, Alonso and Raikkonen, it could end up being worse for the four-time champion.
If inspection shows that the accident damaged his engine, the team could be forced to replace it. If so, Ferrari would have to move onto its fourth powerplant of the season, according to a reporter from La Repubblica, meaning that no more replacements would be allowed without facing grid penalties in future races.