Sebastian Vettel has been handed a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix for the first-corner collision with Nico Rosberg in Malaysia.
Ferrari driver was fighting for position with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen when locked up and tagged Rosberg into a spin that sent the Mercedes driver at the back of the grid. Vettel sustained suspension damage to his car that ended his race.
After investigating the incident the stewards deemed Vettel responsible for the clash, penalizing his with a grid drop and two penalty points on his licence.
“Having thoroughly reviewed the video and having spoken to the driver concerned, the Stewards determined that although the cars involved in the incident were all moving at relatively similar speeds, the driver of Car 5 [Vettel] made a small error entering to the inside of Turn 1 that led to the contact with Car 6 [Rosberg],” read a statement issued by the stewards.
“As a consequence, Car 6 was caused to spin from second place and lose multiple positions, which the stewards determined was predominantly the fault of the driver of Car 5.”
Vettel gave his view on the incident and apologized to Rosberg for the ruin his race: “We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max. We were both battling for position into turn one.
“Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right. At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down anymore and I was also pushed by Max to the right. I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one.
“I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front. I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead. I don’t have to comment on what Max said afterwards.”