Singapore GP: Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen avoid penalty over first-lap crash
Stewards rule none of Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen 'predominantly to blame' for spectacular first-lap crash
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 30/09/17 8:30am
Singapore GP stewards have ruled no driver was 'predominantly to blame' for the huge start-line accident involving Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.
The three drivers collided to spectacular effect within seconds of Sunday's race starting in wet conditions, with Verstappen caught between a defensive Vettel and a fast-starting Raikkonen.
The stewards spoke to all three drivers after the race had finished but could not find sufficient fault in an incident they described as a 'chain reaction', and duly ruled it had been a racing incident.
'The Stewards consider that no driver was found to have been wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident and will therefore take no further action,' read an FIA statement.
Ferrari and Red Bull had unsurprisingly been at odds over where the blame lay.
While Ferrari's official Twitter account blamed Verstappen, the Dutchman and Christian Horner, his Red Bull boss, said Vettel had triggered the accident by moving across the track in a defensive move.
All three drivers retired as a result, with Vettel dropping 28 points off the championship pace after title-rival Lewis Hamilton claimed an unexpected win.
The stewards' statement in full
'The Stewards examined video evidence and heard from Sebastian Vettel, the driver of Car 5, Kimi Raikkonen, the driver of Car 7, Max Verstappen, the driver of Car 33 and the team representatives.
'Driver of Car 7 had a very good start and was able to attempt overtaking of Car 33 on the left hand side. At the same time, Car 5 which had a slower start, moved to the left hand side of the track; Car 33 and Car 7 then collided resulting in a chain collision with Car 5 and ultimately Car 14 (Fernando Alonso) at the next turn. Cars 7, 5 and 33 had to retire immediately as a result of the incident; and Car 14 retired some laps thereafter.'
Ferrari and Verstappen's blame game
Speaking immediately after the race, Verstappen had pointed the finger of blame squarely at Vettel for causing the crash.
"I think mainly Sebastian started squeezing me," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. "Maybe he didn't see Kimi on the left but that's not an excuse.
"If you are fighting for the world championship you shouldn't take those risks squeezing someone that much. You can see what happens. Lewis is leading the race and the three of us are out."
Ferrari themselves, however, took a different view, tweeting:
That summary was swiftly condemned by an incredulous Horner with the Red Bull chief responding: "How on earth you can work that out [Verstappen to blame] from watching that, I have no idea. Anyone who can blame Verstappen out of that needs their eyes tested."
Amid suggestions a rogue Ferrari team member had tweeted out the post blaming Verstappen, the team then tweeted:
What we tweeted was a factual description of events. No need to speculate on this— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 17, 2017
"That was very disappointing and it was definitely not the result we were expecting," said team boss Maurizio Arrivabene. "But it doesn't mean that the battle is all over, just that it has become more difficult."