Vettel apologises for crash with Raikkonen in Belgium

Ferrari’s Raikkonen has accepted team-mate Vettel’s apology for their crash in Spa.
Ferrari’s Raikkonen has accepted team-mate Vettel’s apology for their crash in Spa. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MONZA (ITALY) • Sebastian Vettel has apologised to Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for triggering their first-corner crash with Max Verstappen at last weekend's Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.

Vettel and Raikkonen tripped over each other at Turn One of Spa-Francorchamps, as the pair found themselves battling with Verstappen as the young Dutchman tried to make up for a poor start.

Most experts believed Vettel was to blame for the incident, as he had not given enough room to the two inside cars.

After looking at the video footage, Vettel said sorry to Raikkonen, reported Sky Sports.

Responding to the apology, Raikkonen said during a news conference ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza: "Obviously it was an unfortunate thing. He said sorry and I said okay, we go forward.

"It wasn't ideal for us all three to be involved, but that is how it goes sometimes. For sure next time we give some more room."

Vettel, however, suggested that Verstappen was also culpable.

"It's clear what happened," said the German driver. "Max had a bad start and was out of the fight but decided to (get involved). We had three cars with not enough room.

"If l had to do it again, l would give a little bit more room and at least l would make it - l don't know about the two cars on the inside.

"It was a pity for all three to be involved and not to come out of the corner being able to race for the podium because of that."

After the Ferrari duo later criticised Verstappen's driving during the closing stages of the race, the teenager said Vettel and Raikkonen should be "ashamed to cause an accident like that with their amount of experience".

But both Vettel and Raikkonen yesterday remain adamant that Verstappen's style of defending track position needs addressing.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of," responded Vettel. "We should always show respect for each other.

"It's the moving in the braking (zone) which is the wrong thing. We need to have another chat."

A concurring Raikkonen added: "Personally I have nothing against Max. He's going a good job, he's fast, but certain things, in my view, were not correct. Everyone makes mistakes but this is not the place to be acting silly or 'paying back'."

According to Motorsport.com, F1 race director Charlie Whiting will meet privately with Vettel and Raikkonen at Monza to discuss Verstappen's driving conduct.

While the two current Ferrari drivers sort out their differences, former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa announced that he will retire from the sport at the end of this season.

The Brazilian said: "After 27 years of my racing career, since I started karting and with 15 years in F1, this will be my last season in F1. Life gives us so many choices. For me it has got to the time where I have to go and do something different."

Massa started his career with Sauber, before moving to Ferrari in 2006 and then Williams in 2014.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'Vettel apologises for crash with Raikkonen in Belgium'. Print Edition | Subscribe